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Insects

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****Insecta

This common name refers to only one class.

Arthropod Class Insecta

These are pretty much always called Insects.
Nearly a million species of insects have been described by entomologists. I have left several of them off of this site, just to save time, but I've tried to include all the main aquatic insects trout eat in North America.

This site focuses on aquatic insects, of which the most important are mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera). Stoneflies (Plecoptera) come in third, a position arguably challenged by the many two-winged true flies of the Diptera order, which includes midges and craneflies. I've also included some terrestrial (Terrestrial: Insects which live on land and are fed on by trout only when they incidentally fall into the water are known as "terrestrials" to fly anglers, and they're very important in late summer.) insects which I've found on or near trout streams. Terrestrials (Terrestrial: Insects which live on land and are fed on by trout only when they incidentally fall into the water are known as "terrestrials" to fly anglers, and they're very important in late summer.) like ants, beetles, and grasshoppers are an important food source for trout in many places, especially during the summer months.

Aquatic insects do not live their entire lives in the water. Instead, they grow for a year (give or take quite a bit) as nymphs or larvae underwater, and then they emerge into air-breathing winged insects for a short while to mate and die. There are many variations on this theme.

The most important aquatic insects for fly fishermen are mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, and midges. Mayflies and caddisflies are the most discussed by angler-entomologists, because it's so useful to closely identify them. The behavior of their species guides the behavior of feeding trout, and an angler who understands the lifecycle of a particular species has the upper hand when it's hatching. This is not so important for stoneflies and midges, because their hatching behavior is less variable.
Argia Damselfly NymphArgia  Damselfly Nymph View 3 PicturesMy friend Willy captured this early instar (Instar: Many invertebrates molt through dozens of progressively larger and better-developed stages as they grow. Each of these stages is known as an instar. Hard-bodied nymphs typically molt through more instars than soft-bodied larvae.) damselfly nymph and brought it to me for identification. It is more robust and stocky at this early stage than the spindly appearance of the later instars (Instar: Many invertebrates molt through dozens of progressively larger and better-developed stages as they grow. Each of these stages is known as an instar. Hard-bodied nymphs typically molt through more instars than soft-bodied larvae.), and its appearance is less familiar.
Collected August 28, 2005 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on April 14, 2006
Corydalus (Dobsonflies) Hellgrammite LarvaCorydalus (Dobsonflies) Hellgrammite Larva View 27 Pictures
Collected May 29, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on June 4, 2007
Male Baetis (Blue-Winged Olives) Mayfly DunMale Baetis (Blue-Winged Olives) Mayfly Dun View 14 PicturesThis dun molted most of the way into a spinner (though the wings got stuck) the evening after I photographed it, so I took some more photos of the spinner.

I found a female nearby, probably of the same species.
Collected September 19, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on October 4, 2006
Male Isonychia bicolor (Mahogany Dun) Mayfly SpinnerMale Isonychia bicolor (Mahogany Dun) Mayfly Spinner View 15 PicturesI got several really nice pictures of this spinner. I also collected a female on the same trip.
Collected August 9, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on August 11, 2006
Rhyacophila (Green Sedges) Caddisfly PupaRhyacophila (Green Sedges) Caddisfly Pupa View 11 PicturesI collected this pupa and several like it from the same stream and on the same day as this larva. I suspect they're the same species. Every pupa I collected was in a brown casing like the one shown in one of the pictures below. I cut this pupa out of its case after a picture so you can see more details. It is close to but not fully developed.
Collected June 5, 2005 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 25, 2006
Neophylax (Autumn Mottled Sedges) Caddisfly AdultNeophylax (Autumn Mottled Sedges) Caddisfly Adult View 20 PicturesThis large caddisfly looks really neat close-up.
Collected September 19, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on October 4, 2006
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