We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature post!

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature post!

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature post! At first glance, this little guy might look like a cockroach. According to VMNH Associate Curator of Invertebrate Zoology Dr. Kal Ivanov, this is actually a stonefly from the family Peltoperlidae, which are known as the "roach-like stoneflies." Dr. Ivanov said this one is probably Tallaperla maria, the common roachfly. Despite that horrifying name, this fellow isn't closely related to cockroaches, it just bears a superficial resemblance. Stoneflies fall under the insect order Plecoptera, which contains some 3,500-plus species. Stoneflies are one of the most primitive groups of winged insects, and their close relatives have been found in Carboniferous and Permian fossil deposits. This particular stonefly is in its nymph stage and has gills that allow it to breathe underwater. Depending on the species, stoneflies can remain in their aquatic nymphal form for one to four years, molting multiple times before emerging from the water, affixing themselves to a plant or other nearby object, and molting one final time into a winged adult. Once they gain their wings, stoneflies don't live terribly long; at most, they have a couple of weeks to find a mate and start the cycle over again. All stoneflies are highly sensitive to pollution, so if you find them in your creek, you can sleep easy knowing that your waterways are clean.

*This post was originally published on April 3, 2020.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends.

If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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