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Mayfly Genus Attenella

This genus is represented by several important species across the country. In the East, Attenella attenuata (Little Blue-winged Olive) has garnered much attention as an important hatch in past angling texts. However, possible confusion with more abundant Drunella species of Blue-winged Olives has perhaps led to overstatement regarding its importance.

The species Attenella margarita (Little Western Blue-winged Olive) is disributed nationally. Though its eastern presence is relatively minor, in the West this mayfly can produce exceptional hatches.

Two other western species, Attenella delantala and to a lesser extent Attenella soquele often show up quite prominently in stream samples taken in the coastal states. The dramatically marked delantala nymph cannot be easily confused with any other western ephemerellid. Information regarding their winged appearance seems to be unavailable for now. Why they have gone unreported in angling texts is a mystery perhaps due to emergence behavior or misidentification by anglers of the dun and spinner stages. There is much to learn about these species that can be fairly abundant in some locales.

Hatching Behavior


A significant difference between this genus and other ephemerellids is it's reported propensity to emerge from its nymphal shuck (
Here's an underwater view of the pupal shucks of several already-emerged Brachycentrus numerosus caddisflies.
Here's an underwater view of the pupal shucks of several already-emerged Brachycentrus numerosus caddisflies.
Shuck: The shed exoskeleton left over when an insect molts into its next stage or instar. Most often it describes the last nymphal or pupal skin exited during emergence into a winged adult.
)
from the stream bottom in heptagenid fashion. While other ephemerellids can and do emerge underwater, this usually takes place within a foot at most from the surface. Attenella's availability as a submerged dun in the entire water column means use of the winged wetfly or soft hackles fished deeply can be an important tactic.

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