May 31, 2020
If you're a trout fisherman, this little fellow will probably look familiar. According to VMNH Executive Director Dr. Joe Keiper, this is a green stonefly from the family Chloroperlidae.
Stoneflies belong to the order Plecoptera, which contains about 3,500 species. They're believed to be one of the most primitive winged insects. Stoneflies spend the early part of their life as aquatic nymphs, and they are highly sensitive to water pollution. If you find adult stoneflies near your house, you can rest assured that your local streams are healthy. They aren't strong fliers so the adults generally stick pretty close to the stream where they grew up. They spend one to four years as aquatic nymphs, but once they become adults, they only live for a few weeks. Some species don't even eat after they become adults!
Their weak flying ability is part of the reason why fly fishermen often use flies that resemble stoneflies (that was way too many variations on the word "fly" for one sentence, but I can't think of a clearer way to phrase it). Adult stoneflies often lay their eggs by fluttering over the water and dropping them, and sometimes they tumble into the water, where trout usually make short work of them. #BenInNature
About this post: Social distancing can be difficult, but the next few weeks present a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. While he is working from home, Administrator of Science Ben Williams is venturing outdoors each day to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world.
This post brought to you by VMNH Corporate Supporter Bassett Furniture.
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