Phryganeidae Caddisfly LarvaView 5 PicturesThis "specimen" is actually two caddis larvae fighting each other over a case. The case is a hollow tube; one larva would go in the back end, presumably bite the other, and chase it out. The invader crawled forward into the case while the other one fled, and then it went around to the back and bit the first one. They did this several times, and I recorded it on video.
Baetisca laurentina (Armored Mayfly) Mayfly NymphView 3 PicturesI took a few group picture of a bunch of Baetisca laurentina nymphs to show the degree of individual variation in size, color, and shape that can occur within the same species in the same pool of the same river. This variation is one important reason why trout are forgiving of some small degree of variation in our imitations--the naturals themselves vary, too.
Ephemera simulans (Brown Drake) Mayfly NymphView 2 PicturesHere's an unusually small 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.) nymph.
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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.
Larvae: Many classes of aquatic insects, such as caddisflies, midges, craneflies, dobsonflies, alderflies, and many more, are known as "larvae" rather than "nymphs" in their juvenile stages. They have mostly soft bodies rather than hard exoskeletons. These insects also advance through a "pupa" stage before reaching adulthood.
Naturals: A natural is a real insect (or similar creature) a trout might eat. The term is used to specify the real thing as opposed to its artificial imitation.
Nymphs: The juvenile, underwater stages of mayflies, stoneflies, dragonflies, and damselflies and other aquatic insects whose juvenile stages are covered by hard exoskeletons. The word can also refer to the fishing flies which imitate these creatures, in which case it is used as a blanket term for flies imitating any underwater stage of an invertebrate (except for crayfish and leeches).
Tarsal claws: The claws at the tip of the tarsus, on an insect's "foot."