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Dark Blue Quills

Like most common names, "Dark Blue Quill" can refer to more than one taxon. They're previewed below, along with 6 specimens. For more detail click through to the scientific names.

Mayfly Genus Paraleptophlebia

These are very rarely called Dark Blue Quills.
There are many species in this genus of mayflies, and some of them produce excellent hatches. Commonly known as Blue Quills or Mahogany Duns, they include some of the first mayflies to hatch in the Spring and some of the last to finish in the Fall.

In the East and Midwest, their small size (16 to 20, but mostly 18's) makes them difficult to match with old techniques. In the 1950s Ernest Schwiebert wrote in Matching the Hatch:

"The Paraleptophlebia hatches are the seasonal Waterloo of most anglers, for without fine tippets and tiny flies an empty basket is assured."

Fortunately, modern anglers with experience fishing hatches of tiny Baetis and Tricorythodes mayflies are better prepared for the two region's Paraleptophlebia. It's hard to make sense of so many species, but only one is very important and others can be considered in groups because they often hatch together:
In the West, it is a different story. For starters the species run much larger and can be imitated with flies as large as size 12, often size 14, and rarely smaller than 16. Another difference is the West has species with tusks! Many anglers upon first seeing them think they are immature burrowing nymphs of the species Ephemera simulans aka Brown Drake. With their large tusks, feathery gills, and slender uniform build, it's an easy mistake to make. Using groups again:
Paraleptophlebia (Blue Quills and Mahogany Duns) Mayfly NymphParaleptophlebia (Blue Quills and Mahogany Duns) Mayfly Nymph View 6 Pictures
Collected February 7, 2004 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on January 25, 2006
Male Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly DunMale Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly Dun View 14 Pictures
Collected April 30, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 3, 2007
Male Paraleptophlebia (Blue Quills and Mahogany Duns) Mayfly SpinnerMale Paraleptophlebia (Blue Quills and Mahogany Duns) Mayfly Spinner View 15 PicturesI wasn't actually fishing the river where I caught this one. I was just scouting, didn't like the look of the water, and as I was walking back to the car this little dun landed on my vest. Why can't they all be so easy to collect?
Collected September 8, 2006 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on October 4, 2006
Male Paraleptophlebia heteronea (Blue Quill) Mayfly AdultMale Paraleptophlebia heteronea (Blue Quill) Mayfly Adult View 1 Pictures
Collected May 16, 2012 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 18, 2012

Mayfly Species Paraleptophlebia adoptiva

These are very rarely called Dark Blue Quills.
This is the best Spring hatch after the Quill Gordons (Epeorus pleuralis) but before the Hendricksons (Ephemerella subvaria) in most parts of the East, although it can overlap with both. The Blue Quills are small mayflies (hook size 16-20) but they can hatch in incredible numbers at a time when eager trout are just beginning to look to the surface after a hungry winter.
Male Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly DunMale Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly Dun View 14 Pictures
Collected April 30, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 3, 2007
Male Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly SpinnerMale Paraleptophlebia adoptiva (Blue Quill) Mayfly Spinner View 7 PicturesBased on the pale longitudinal forewing veins (excepting the costals), dark middle terga (Tergum: the dorsal part of an abdominal segment or segments (terga). Also used to describe the entire abdominal dorsum or the thoracic dorsal segments of Odonata.), and genitalia (Burks '53), this specimen is P. adoptiva.
Collected May 9, 2007 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 18, 2007

Mayfly Species Teloganopsis deficiens

These are very rarely called Dark Blue Quills.
Anglers in western Wisconsin, where these little flies hatch in good numbers on summer rivers, have termed them "Darth Vaders" because of the very dark color of their wings.

Until recently, this species was known as Serratella deficiens.
Teloganopsis deficiens (Little Black Quill) Mayfly NymphTeloganopsis deficiens (Little Black Quill) Mayfly Nymph View 6 PicturesThis nymph has tiny, barely detectable tubercles (
A few (not all) of the abdominal tubercles on this Ephemerella needhami nymph are circled.  They are especially large in this species.
A few (not all) of the abdominal tubercles on this Ephemerella needhami nymph are circled. They are especially large in this species.
Tubercle: Various peculiar little bumps or projections on an insect. Their character is important for the identification of many kinds of insects, such as the nymphs of Ephemerellidae mayflies.
)
on its abdominal segments, and I could not find the maxillary palpi. I have tentatively guessed that it is Serratella deficiens.
Collected June 9, 2005 from in
Added to Troutnut.com by on May 26, 2006
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