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Artistic view of a Male Pteronarcys californica (Pteronarcyidae) (Giant Salmonfly) Stonefly Adult from the Gallatin River in Montana
Salmonflies
Pteronarcys californica

The giant Salmonflies of the Western mountains are legendary for their proclivity to elicit consistent dry-fly action and ferocious strikes.

Dorsal view of a Grammotaulius betteni (Limnephilidae) (Northern Caddisfly) Caddisfly Larva from the Yakima River in Washington
This is a striking caddis larva with an interesting color pattern on the head. Here are some characteristics I was able to see under the microscope, but could not easily expose for a picture:
- The prosternal horn is present.
- The mandible is clearly toothed, not formed into a uniform scraper blade.
- The seems to be only 2 major setae on the ventral edge of the hind femur.
- Chloride epithelia seem to be absent from the dorsal side of any abdominal segments.
Based on these characteristics and the ones more easily visible from the pictures, this seems to be Grammotaulius. The key's description of the case is spot-on: "Case cylindrical, made of longitudinally arranged sedge or similar leaves," as is the description of the markings on the head, "Dorsum of head light brownish yellow with numerous discrete, small, dark spots." The spot pattern on the head is a very good match to figure 19.312 of Merritt R.W., Cummins, K.W., and Berg, M.B. (2019). The species ID is based on Grammotaulius betteni being the only species of this genus known in Washington state.
27" brown trout, my largest ever. It was the sub-dominant fish in its pool. After this, I hooked the bigger one, but I couldn't land it.
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Millcreek has attached these 7 pictures to aid in identification. The message is below.
Color variation #1. 10 mm (excluding cerci). Live specimen. Collected May 29, 2014.
Color variation #1. 7 mm (excluding cerci). Live specimen. Collected May 13, 2014.
Color variation #1. 7 mm (excluding cerci). Live specimen. Collected May 13, 2014.
Color variation #1. 6 mm (excluding cerci). In alcohol. Collected May 5, 2012.
Color variation #1. 6 mm (excluding cerci). In alcohol. Collected May 5, 2012.
Color variation #2. 9 mm (excluding cerci). Live specimen. Collected May 17, 2014.
Color variation #2. 9 mm (excluding cerci). Live specimen. Collected May 17, 2014.
Millcreek
Healdsburg, CA

Posts: 344
Millcreek on Sep 25, 2014September 25th, 2014, 3:07 pm EDT
These nymphs are abundant in the Russian River from April to June. I've keyed them out to Nixe using Merritt, Cummins and Berg but have been unable to ID them to species. The only Nixe species I've been able to find recorded from California is N. kennedyi but the nymphs are not described and I haven't collected any adults in the area. Does anybody know anything more about the nymphs?

The nymphs seem to have two distinct pattern types. Not sure if that's just a color variation or whether they could be two different species. Photos show the two variations.
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
-Albert Einstein
Creno
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 302
Creno on Sep 25, 2014September 25th, 2014, 3:28 pm EDT
Millcreek - are you collecting both forms at the same time/place? creno
Millcreek
Healdsburg, CA

Posts: 344
Millcreek on Sep 25, 2014September 25th, 2014, 3:33 pm EDT
Dave - Yes, although variation #2 tends to show up about a week later. I've often collected both forms off the same rock.
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
-Albert Einstein
Entoman
Entoman's profile picture
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Entoman on Sep 26, 2014September 26th, 2014, 8:14 pm EDT
I can't make out the mouthparts but the head spots and small lateral spines clearly agree with your assessment. Perhaps the difference between the two is due to dimorphism.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
Millcreek
Healdsburg, CA

Posts: 344
Millcreek on Sep 27, 2014September 27th, 2014, 7:46 am EDT
Perhaps the difference between the two is due to dimorphism.

It could be. Either two variations in the same species or differences between male and female. Probably more likely than two species. Separating the two variations and rearing the mature nymphs should provide answers. Hope to be set up next year for rearing nymphs.
"If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"
-Albert Einstein

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