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WillmilneMay 18th, 2009, 4:58 pm
Manitoba Canada

Posts: 19

Looks like I have been bitten by the bug:))

I am considering buying Merrit and Cummins 4th Ed. for an ID reference.. is this the standard?

I am also getting the sense I need a stereo microscope to aid/complement the above... any suggestions under $ 500.00 that would be a ( I know I'm cheap but..) reasonable buy?


KonchuMay 19th, 2009, 10:05 am
Site Editor

Posts: 505
The reference depends on what level you want to go to.

Good scopes are hard to find for a reasonable price. Finding a good used one is something to try. If you're near a university, sometimes things can be found at salvage sales.

Otherwise, you could try something new from a vendor such as BioQuip. That would give you a good idea about prices.
WillmilneMay 19th, 2009, 4:03 pm
Manitoba Canada

Posts: 19

I can usually get to the family level , but would like to get the species level. The references I have are fly fishing related and therefore limited by that fact. Hence the thought of Merrit and Cummins as a better resource.

Any suggestions on what magnification range is the most usefull for mayfly/stonefly/caddis keying.

GONZOMay 19th, 2009, 4:47 pm
Site Editor
"Bear Swamp," PA

Posts: 1681
Unless I am mistaken, Merritt and Cummins will usually leave you at genus. Most of the exceptions would probably be fairly unique or monotypical species. Finding reliable species level keys often requires researching the latest scientific papers, and even then you will find instances where up-to-date keys may not exist or may be limited to certain stages (male imagos or nymphs, for example). There are very few shortcuts to species level identification.

However, M&C would certainly be a good place to start and a great help in narrowing down the possibilities--I often wish I had a copy. There are also some useful online resources. If you're not averse to wading through a fair amount of scientific jargon, the FAMU Ephemeroptera Galactica collection of scientific papers is a tremendous resource, though limited primarily to mayfly research.
TroutnutMay 20th, 2009, 5:41 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2737
Gonzo's right... Merritt & Cummins usually goes just to genus level. For that, it's as good a reference as you can get.

For species, there's usually no option except to build a large collection of obscure scientific papers. Even having done that, some of them are still mysterious to me.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist

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