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> > Baetid Confusion

This topic is about the Mayfly Family Baetidae

"These little critters supplant the importance of many other well-known mayfly hatches."

-Fred Arbona in Mayflies, the Angler, and the Trout


Arbona did not overestimate these critters. Their great numbers and multiple broods each season make up for their size, which is rarely larger than size 16 and often smaller than size 20.

Hardly mentioned in angling literature prior to the middle of the last century, baetids have become increasingly important to anglers, rivaling any other family of mayflies in this regard. This is largely due to the extension of fishing seasons that now include the early and late periods when this familys species usually dominate hatching activity. Another important reason is the tremendous improvement in tackle allowing more practical imitation of these little mayflies. The dramatic ecological changes in many of our watersheds and the subsequent impact this has had on the makeup of taxa populations is also a factor.

Taxonomically speaking, this is a most unruly family. The entomological community seems to be perpetually reclassifying its genera and species to the chagrin of many anglers. These changes are not capricious. The reason is older nomenclatures haven't provided the taxonomic flexibility required as more becomes known about the complexities of baetid relationships. Classification of this familys genera and species is very much a work in progress. The changes have been so extensive that it is beyond the scope of this hatch page to track the taxonomic history effectively without interjecting even more confusion. If you are frustrated by the inability to find some of the old familiar names, you're not alone. Rest assured these popular hatches are listed here, just under the latest classifications. The old famous names are referenced in their hatch pages.

Common baetid hatches with a national distribution are the species Acentrella turbida, Baetis brunneicolor, and Baetis tricaudatus. In the West, Baetis bicaudatus, Diphetor hageni and Plauditus punctiventris can also be common. In the East and the Midwest, look for Baetis intercalaris and Plauditus dubius. The species Iswaeon anoka is important in both the West and Midwest. Some of the Procloeon and Anafroptilum (prev. Centroptilum) species are coming to the increasing notice of anglers across the country.

Stillwater anglers are likely to run across Callibaetis ferrugineus ferrugineus in the East and Midwest. Western anglers will find Callibaetis californicus and Callibaetis ferrugineus hageni to be very important.

Streamside identification of these mayflies to specific and often even generic level has always been difficult. This is now even more so as new taxonomic evidence has shown hind wing conformation (or lack of hind wings) and other features are less dependable as ways to tell the genera apart. Many of the lesser-known species probably produce excellent local hatches but have not caught enough attention to be properly recognized by anglers. The lesson is that we should not assume anything about the identity of many Baetidae hatches we come across; they may not even be in the Baetis genus, let alone familiar species. Read more...

There are 94 more specimens...

The Discussion

EntomanJanuary 16th, 2011, 3:31 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
The current upheaval in Angler insect identification due to classification changes have posed serious problems for us poor fisher folk trying to share information about hatches. Disregarding some physically visible attributes as determinate is very problematic. The promise of bringing us all together by using a common language in describing hatches by their scientific names has been undermined to the point that we are now little better off than when we used common names. This is no better illustrated than when discussing the Baetidae family. Frankly, modern nomenclature makes it virtually impossible to identify members of this family down to the generic level (let alone species) in most cases...

Previous nomenclature made it easy to differentiate most Baetids to the generic level streamside, and it could be done with the help of a little magnification as follows: 1) Small slender bodied mayflies with 2 tails, solid colored forewings, and dwarf horizontally held hind wings with a tiny spike or smooth leading edge - Baetis 2) The same description as Baetis except for a rearward projecting spur from the leading edge of the tiny hind wing and lighter often cream or sulfur body coloration - Centroptilium 3) Same description as baetis, except hind wing lacking - Pseudocloeon. 4) Speckled wings and bodies - Callibaetis

Easy... Simple... and important... because these bugs have subtly different behaviors, hatch cycles, habitat preferences, and fishing approaches required. These differences are now scattered between the first three as well as a host of new generic names. Now It's true that some names have always changed over time but the concept of "a rose by any other name is still a rose" still operated. What's different now is that we are being told by the scientific community to "call some roses, daisies; some daisies, tulips; and some tulips, roses". Forget what they look and smell like, it's the genetics that count.

Ernest Schwiebert in his later writings lamented these changes and refused to use (for purposes of discussion) many of the taxonomic changes occuring. This was because I think he foresaw they would lead to immense confusion when trying to discuss what we see on the river with each other, and make it practically impossible to correlate our existing body of literature. I think we should follow his lead.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TaxonJanuary 16th, 2011, 8:04 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Entoman-

Your post is a carefully crafted and dispassionate analysis of the state of taxonomic classification; I salute you for having made it. Do I agree with the (likely somewhat rhetorical) position you have taken? Not that my thoughts on the subject make a whit of difference one way or the other, but to be candid, I am really torn on the subject. Over the years, taxonomic identification of mayflies, and to a somewhat lesser extent, caddisflies and stoneflies, has evolved into the single most rewarding facet of fly fishing for me. As a result, the recent systematics direction of disregarding physical traits in favor in favor of genetic analysis has certainly proven a frustration. On the other hand, I am not particularly comfortable with resisting progress in scientific discovery, which might be likened to one's becoming a member of the Flat Earth Society. Frankly, this dilemma almost makes one long for the days of Needham, Traver, and Hsu, when all mayflies were still grouped into but three families, the swimmers of Baetidae, the clingers of Heptageniidae, and the crawlers of Ephemerellidae.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
WaxsmithJanuary 16th, 2011, 4:45 pm
CANADA

Posts: 6
re visual vs. genetic distinction of whatever happens to be hatching gives some people something to do for sure. As for myself, if it is snatched off the surface I'll use an Adams in a size that comes close, if it's grabbed beneath the surface I'll try a few sizes of BWO's or of PT nymph's. I'll do that while you are debating and arguing of what it actually is and I'll bet you Dollars to Donuts I'll be ahead of you more often than not.
Greetings, Waxsmith.
What is this supposed to look like, example please.
EntomanJanuary 17th, 2011, 6:18 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi Taxon

Thanks for the compliments and taking the time to respond to my rant. After reading the intro to this sites baetid category, I had to get it off my chest. Of course, you're right about science in that it would be wrong to freeze it. I freely admit I'm approaching the subject purely from the selfish standpoint of an advocate for a special interest group... Me! HaHa.

I find comfort in the idea that I can pluck a bug from the surface or from a rock under water and with a little magnification help, determine what it is to the generic level. From there I can benefit from past personal experience as well as those who have gone before in the study of these amazing life forms. Knowing its nymphal or adult appearance by identifying its opposite in hand, knowing the habitat it prefers in it's mysterious aquatic world, how it behaves, how, when, and where it will emerge, and finally its method of ovipositing all add immeasurably to the pleasure I find in this most fascinating of sports. Nothing is more satisfying than "cracking the code" on "uncatchable fish". Conversely, nothing is more boring than lazy "chuck and chance it" fishing. I also would prefer to have the ability to converse with others on "apple to apple" terms. I'm for protecting the very thing you find so enjoyable. In other words, I'm for increased access and participation for the laymen, not it's reduction. The point I'm making is the system is being effectively reduced. Under the older system I could be sure of at least four different genera of import to fisherman in the Baetidae family. Using the "new" nomnclature, (unless it's a Callibaetis) we can't go any further than knowing the specimen is in the Baetidae family with any certainty. If you and I were fishing a Psuedocloeon hatch determined by physical inspection streamside, we'd both know what it was, but what would we call it since we can't know which genus it now belongs in? A baetid? - the familial level is not enough information. A tiny olive quill? - now we're back to square one using common names again.

Back to the question of science: Keep in mind that much if not most of this generic shuffling is not settled science anyway. Many experts disagree with some of the conclusions drawn by these genetic "discoveries". Much of it suffers from seriously inadequate peer review because there's only so much money to run genetic tests on non-pest insects. Also keep in mind that doctorates and later accolades (grants) aren't handed out for simply mastering what's gone before. Academics are under intense pressure to contribute something unique to their respective fields of study. There are also many academics with axes to grind. The sceptic in me suspects much of this has been foisted on the public in the hope that general acceptance will make their recommended changes as hard to revoke as a Social Security benefit (not unlike a lot of "global warming" science). They'll have to sort it out... hopefully with a compromise that doesn't render taxonomy a dead science... but I sometimes think we were better off when all they had to argue about were differences in genitilia.

Entman
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnJanuary 17th, 2011, 8:43 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Roger,

This Entoman's another voice in the wilderness...:)

I think that we are going to have to try and just slow down a tad...Everytime something new pops up we race in and there's the urge to make wholesale changes and move or rename.

I think to some extent it is the old story of the tail trying to wag the dog. What I mean is that us anglers have our desires and those of the scientific community don't neccessarily run parallel with them.

We anglers were sold on our interest in aquatic entomology by some of the folks you mentioned, Ernie, Swisher & Richards, Nastasi & Caucci, Flick etc...A whole generation of angling writers sent us off in that direction. We quoters of latin were somehow smarter than the average Joe and his local generic names.

Back in those days (late 60's-early 70's) all these guys introduced us to guys like Justin Leonard, Needham, Traver, and Hsu, et al...and we poured over these writings from the "science guys" as if we were reading the gospels.

The problem really is that science and the knowledge we gain from new technologies etc are moving at their own speed and lately its running at a pretty good clip. Pre Internet and DNA breakthroughs the guru's of old were working pretty much in isolation and, relatively speaking, at a snails pace. Now they can communicate with each other in mili-seconds.

So, one guy working on his master's thesis on the Au Sable, in the past, headed back to the lab with all his observations while another guy in Indiana was doing pretty much the same and looking at pretty similar bugs...Probably the same bugs really...One guy writes down his research and the other guy did the same...If you actually read those old texts you can see the delineation and how, in some cases, the same bug was called something different by different scientists and they were listed with a date behind their obsevations and then there was some sort of process as to who got to name the critter...Usually the first guy on the list...Then, after they shared their findings, it was discovered some guy in Russia spotted the bug way before someone here did so the little guy gets renamed...This stuff isn't static...I guess one could say we were wrong in the past and now we know better...:)

If it hasn't headed in this direction already, what I think will end up happening, will be something along the lines of how it's done in birding circles. The American Ornithological Union and/or the American Birding Association get together, and discuss the new science, and occassionaly move some species to another family etc...Then this stuff is published. If "Nerder Birders" (my wifes nickname for me)want to use this that's fine, if not just call the damn thing an American Goldfinch...Was Carduelis tristis in the past, now Spinus tristis...Oh well...

In my humble opinion, I just wish that they would slow it down a bit until they are all on the same page...We have been wedded to Mr. Linnaeus for quite some time and when he was around in the 18th century he was probably cutting edge and his system has served us well...Maybe it's a new day and time for some sort of change...

I promise you though, from years of my own observations astream, that come this spring on the old Au Sable, my "plausible frauds" will cover anything that may be hatching no matter what we end up calling the damn little things...:) If it's about a size 18 hook size with a brownish body and slate gray wings, tie on something with a brownish body with slate gray wings and tight lines to you! Now don't get me started on hook sizes and how they are inconsistant from company to company :)...Maybe a little science would come in handy here and you can do like Spence and carry in your vest a small millimeter ruler then measure the fella and find an appropriate hook.

Spence


"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanJanuary 18th, 2011, 4:42 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Based on the responses i've been getting (public and private) to my posts on this topic, there seems to be a little confusion about the confusion. I apologize for not writing what I was trying to say more clearly. For starters, I am not complaining about name changes... I don't care one wit if yesterdays Ephemerella grandis is todays Drunella grandis, or tomorrows Dumbella stupidaeus. What I am concerned about is "loosing ground" in our attempts to "achieve common ground" when describing and discussing hatches because identifying traits are being discarded. If we lose the ability to key them to the generic level, we won't be able to talk about them accurately. Make no mistake, rigorism in the pursuit of the "avante guard'' will eventually have a large (and negative) impact on our ability to communicate, ironically in the opposite direction of entomologists. I think OldredBarn's post on this matter is very astute.

To those that support or are ambivalent to the currently proposed revisions, I again pose this question - Let's say I want to post about a hatch I fished today on a river where no entomological studies have been done (many if not most out here in the west), and it was a tiny two tailed olivaceous mayfly lacking hind wings that the fish were ravenous for. Without reference to previous nomenclature, what do I call it? You tell me...

To those that can't see what all the fuss is about and prefer to just match the bug you see on the water based only on size and color, I'd like to pose this question. Are you sure you wouldn't like to know whether that gray winged, brown bodied fly you're trying to imitate is a Cinygmula, Ephemerella, or Baetis? Since they have entirely different morphology and behavior in the nymphal/emerger stages and require different flies and presentations to be successful, you might find that helpful to know. Ok, I admit impressive catches are possible without this knowledge. But more often then not, only the odd fish will be fooled by throwing an Adams or P.T. at them, especially if they are feeding hyper-selectively. Mostly this approach will lead to frustration on heavily fished waters. What usually ends up happening is the fly box is chucked at them, without any rhyme or reason to pattern selection in the hope of stumbling upon a fly that works. Not the way I'd prefer to fish.

This problem is not isolated to the Baetids. If it were, it wouldn't be so bad. It's also effecting other families; especially the Heptagenids and Ephemerellids. There are more revisions promised in the near future according to sources I trust. The way things are going, in the not to distant future we may be hard put to communicate accurately about what we see streamside below the familial level. That would be a shame. Not so much for those of us with knowledge of the previous nomenclature but for those that will follow in our footsteps.

What do we do about this dilemma? I prefer Schweibert's approach of retaining the names of problematic hatches so that they can be identified to the generic level without the need of a lab. The generic level is where the most relevant differentiation among species resides anyway (at least for anglers), and he understood that the ability for future anglers to be able to do this steamside is an invaluable tool. He put the suggested revisions in parenthesis following and adjacent to the established names in the headings; thus to satisfy the need for conformity with current scientific leanings. But, after a brief explanation, he used the established names in the body of his prose. He did this not only to reduce confusion and retain continuity with our literary heritage, but to allow all of us to retain the ability to compare his and other notes with our own observations. Before anybody screams "Flat Earth", he didn't do this across the board; only with the problematic genera where comparative identification by laymen would be rendered impossible without it. I think he felt responsible for starting us down this path since he was at the forefront of fly fishing's entomological "Age of Enlightenment" and its promise of stability and a common language. He clearly foresaw these problems on the horizon and strove to the last to protect this movements relevancy. I hope it does stay relevant.

For those of you growing weary of my ramblings, I promise to say no more on this topic.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
OldredbarnJanuary 18th, 2011, 7:06 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
For those of you growing weary of my ramblings, I promise to say no more on this topic.


Entoman,

I know I'm not the man to say this, since I've been known to go on a bit myself, but there is no reason for you, on this site with such a scientific bent to it, to ever limit your comments...Especially when they are so thoughtful!

It's a good thread and couldn't be more relevant to us anglers. A great many of us have had an amateur entomological bent for many years and its been fun. I would hate to bid it adieu.

Spence

Lets just pretend we are somehow furthering the dialectic. :)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanJanuary 21st, 2011, 8:33 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi Spence,

Lets just pretend we are somehow furthering the dialectic. :)

Hyperbole aside, that was my intent... At least among our fellows on the forum. I don't think we're in any real danger of losing it completely. Just wanted to shout "whoa" a little bit.

-Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
EntomanJanuary 21st, 2011, 10:18 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Another pet peeve: Isn't taxonomy concerned with classification while entomology is concerned with biology? Yet you constantly read statements like, " Entomologists have recently reclassified..." or, "Taxonomists have concluded that the habitat where they can be found is disparate among...". Throw morphology (form and function) into the mix and it all can become quite confusing. Can anybody help with an explanation (in laymen's terms) of both the differences and apparent overlapping of these sciences, and why it occurs?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TaxonJanuary 22nd, 2011, 1:51 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Isn't taxonomy concerned with classification while entomology is concerned with biology?


Well Kurt, the way I think of it, at least now that you've more-or-less forced me to actually think, is that biology is the overall science, and its divisions (or specializations) are in multiple dimensions. One dimension involves the area of focus, for example zoology, botany, etc., and another dimension involves the view of that area of focus, for example taxonomy, systematics, etc.

As to why people use imprecise (or even downright incorrect) terminology to describe things, I suppose there may be many reasons, chief among which might be: lack of conceptual understanding, communication skill deficiencies, sloppiness of approach, etc. Further, over the span of my 70-year period of observation, it seems use of imprecise language is increasingly common and on a downward spiral. Hmm, what was that question, again? :-)


Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
EntomanJanuary 22nd, 2011, 3:35 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
By biology (entomology), I meant what the creature does, where it lives, how it moves, etc. As opposed to what it is looks like compared to other organisms (taxonomy, morphology). Hope this further explanation of my imprecise use of terms helps you to answer my question. Understanding the limits of posts, of course.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TaxonJanuary 22nd, 2011, 7:40 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Kurt-

I was responding as to "why" for the examples you cited, and certainly not intending to critique your use of terms. As for providing any additional information regarding your question, I've probably already expressed any quality thought I had on the subject. Perhaps another kind reader can chime in, and take me off the hook.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
CrenoJanuary 22nd, 2011, 4:42 pm
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 302
Roger - wasn't going to get involved in this since I ain't got no grammer but I thought you finished it well enough. Although since I think I do all those things perhaps this should continue in case someone comes up with a better definition of my lifestyle than doofus.

There are lots of dictionaries out there that provide definitions but none of them will keep up with all the ology's. And no one has a chance of figuring out what users may really mean other than asking them. Entoman was nice to provide his definition of biology: "By biology (entomology), I meant what the creature does, where it lives, how it moves, etc.". My Funk & Wahnalls did't come very close to that.

Have a happy
creno
KonchuJanuary 22nd, 2011, 5:18 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 498
As one who has shuffled his share of names (and in some cases reshuffled), I hesitated to show my face on this thread, but thought I'd chime in with something for the hard-core scientific types. I saw this recently. It is the new 2011 draft-BioCode (to be published
in the February issue of Taxon) that is now online at
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/iapt/tax/pre-prints/11814hawksworth.

I'm not advocating, nor disparaging it. Just pointing it out. Interestingly, as per this thread, there is mention of biology, ecology, etc. in the context of taxonomy (name science in my mind).

I think many folks with a taxonomy bent are increasingly integrating multiple sources and kinds of data into their studies and involving specialists from various fields in single studies. One might argue, however, that systematists (those who deal with taxonomy, classification [groupings and names], phylogenies [evolutionary relationships], etc.) always have been multidisciplinary because they try to create classifications (and taxonomies) that will be predictive of biologies and to allow biology to inform decisions about classification. It sounds circular, but not necessarily so. Volumes have been written about these interacting logics.

As an indication of the broadening views within biology (the study of life) and ecology (the study of life's interactions), an open-access e-journal, BMC Ecology, has broadened its scope recently to include biodiversity (the different kinds of life) studies of all flavors. A poignant commentary about this was provided here:BMC Ecology 2010, 10:16.


EntomanJanuary 22nd, 2011, 6:31 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Thanks for the input guys - So I gather the the lines between Taxonomy and Entomology are more blurred than I had hoped?
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
TroutnutJanuary 22nd, 2011, 8:01 pm
Administrator
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2590
I haven't been following the forum very closely lately (taking my Ph.D. comprehensive exam next week) but I briefly glanced through this one and got drawn into reading the whole thing.

Now It's true that some names have always changed over time but the concept of "a rose by any other name is still a rose" still operated. What's different now is that we are being told by the scientific community to "call some roses, daisies; some daisies, tulips; and some tulips, roses". Forget what they look and smell like, it's the genetics that count.

Ernest Schwiebert in his later writings lamented these changes and refused to use (for purposes of discussion) many of the taxonomic changes occuring. This was because he foresaw they would lead to immense confusion when trying to discuss what we see on the river with each other, and make it practically impossible to correlate our existing body of literature. I think we should follow his lead.


Your point is extremely well-put and you're in the greatest of company with Ernest Schwiebert, but I have to respectfully disagree with both you and Schwiebert on this.

As an ecological researcher-in-training, I am very comfortable with uncertainty, and I highly value honesty about uncertainty. The current taxonomy of the Baetids is clearly a work-in-progress, and that's that. We can wish the classifications from 50 years ago had been right, but they weren't. I can certainly wish they had stopped changing when I created this site's database 5 years ago, but that won't happen, either. We're stuck with uncertainty for the time being.

We could wish that the goal of aquatic insect taxonomy were to create sensible groups of critters for anglers, in contrast to the taxonomy of all other living things. That would be selfish and unreasonable, though, and what would it accomplish? We have to keep in mind why we're interested in scientific classifications in the first place. Why aren't they all just BWOs or "little brown fuzzy things 'round size 18?" You've answered that admirably yourself:

Knowing its nymphal or adult appearance by identifying its opposite in hand, knowing the habitat it prefers in it's mysterious aquatic world, how it behaves, how, when, and where it will emerge, and finally its method of ovipositing all add immeasurably to the pleasure I find in this most fascinating of sports.


We're able to do these things with species we know because they're all at the same twig-tip of the evolutionary tree. There's variability in some of those characteristics within species, and there's plenty of similarity among different species as well. However, sometimes knowing the species name of something really does let us link it to useful external knowledge of its life history and behavior. When that works, it works because science has so carefully delineated taxa based on their evolutionary relatedness. Scientific rigor is the reason why, for example, that Ephemerealla dorothea hatch you're fishing is the same type of bug that was floating by Schwiebert when he described a dorothea hatch 50 years ago. The same might not be said of a "sulphur" hatch matching a sulphur hatch you read about in a John Gierach book. (I made these examples up.)

If we turn around and complain about that scientific rigor when it becomes inconvenient for us, then we're complaining about the very thing that gives value to the system we're trying to preserve in the first place. If taxonomists do not doggedly pursue the truth about the relatedness of species, then what they produce is not much more than a glorified, Latinized set of common names.

Back to the question of science: Keep in mind that much if not most of this generic shuffling is not settled science anyway. Many experts disagree with some of the conclusions drawn by these genetic "discoveries". Much of it suffers from seriously inadequate peer review because there's only so much money to run genetic tests on non-pest insects. Also keep in mind that doctorates and later accolades (grants) aren't handed out for simply mastering what's gone before. Academics are under intense pressure to contribute something unique to their respective fields of study. There are also many academics with axes to grind.


I wouldn't be quite so pessimistic about the motives for these recent changes, although I'm sure there's some of that stuff going on. Mostly it's just that a new technology is shining a light on some difficult questions that were previously resolved with some tentative, inconsistent answers. The results are still shaky, but probably less so than before, and they will continue to be shaky for a long time because there are too many bugs and too few entomologists to figure it all out anytime soon. It doesn't mean these guys are doing a bad job, only that their job is hard. They also aren't pursuing the avant garde; they're pursuing the same thing (evolutionary relatedness) that they were before, but with tools that are better for that task and unfortunately less convenient for hobbyists to mimic. In the majority of cases their revised classifications are probably better than what we had before, even though they may not yet be perfect and will require still more corrections.

If we want to be scientifically attuned anglers, we can't just pick a snapshot of past scientific results and run with it indefinitely. We can stay up-to-date, or we can use common names and just go fishing, or we can even personally choose to use old scientific names at times with the disclaimer that we know we're doing it. But what we should not do is belittle or reject the new changes because of convenience or communication concerns.

Are you sure you wouldn't like to know whether that gray winged, brown bodied fly you're trying to imitate is a Cinygmula, Ephemerella, or Baetis? Since they have entirely different morphology and behavior in the nymphal/emerger stages and require different flies and presentations to be successful, you might find that helpful to know.


Fortunately the new changes aren't radical enough to affect our ability to do this. Most life-history differences that matter for fishing are distinguished at a high enough taxonomic level that they're immune from the species or even genus-level tinkering. There are exceptions, but they're few and far between and probably won't even practically affect us diehard bug geeks.

He put the suggested revisions in parenthesis following and adjacent to the standardized names in the headings; thus to satisfy the need for conformity with current scientific leanings.


That's similar to my policy for this site. I want to keep it as current as I can taxonomically, but build in references to well-known former names to combat confusion.

For those of you growing weary of my ramblings, I promise to say no more on this topic.


I second OldRedBarn here -- never feel like you have to limit your comments!

Another pet peeve: Isn't taxonomy concerned with classification while entomology is concerned with biology?

By biology (entomology), I meant what the creature does, where it lives, how it moves, etc. As opposed to what it is looks like compared to other organisms (taxonomy, morphology).


I am probably guilty of the interchangeable use of these terms. It may not be completely technically accurate, but is there ever any doubt as to the meaning? The things you call "biology" could also be broken down into other sub-fields like behavioral ecology. I find the classification of these endeavors to be a lot less useful than the classification of organisms.

-----------------


Unrelated fun fact: I felt the strongest earthquake I've ever felt while writing this post just now. It was still not strong enough to damage or knock anything over, but the house was certainly vibrating for about 30 seconds, rhythmically, as if being sat on by a giant dog scratching madly at a flea. Looks like a magnitude 5.3 centered 128 miles southwest of here.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
KonchuJanuary 22nd, 2011, 8:34 pm
Site Editor
Indiana

Posts: 498
Beautiful, Jason. Good luck with the exams, and hold on!
OldredbarnJanuary 24th, 2011, 9:25 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Jason,

Wonderful response mister! Sorry we bothered you. You know we are waiting patiently for you to get on with it up there so you can re-join this band of weird-o's you've collected here on this site...:) Don't forget your camera!

You'll do just fine.

Spence

Did I hear somewhere else that Roger said "...in my 70 years of observation"??? Can this be?

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
TaxonJanuary 24th, 2011, 9:42 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1311
Hi Spence-

Did I hear somewhere else that Roger said "...in my 70 years of observation"??? Can this be?


Yeah, I'm afraid it's true, but if you think it's difficult for you to believe, just imagine how it must be for me. :-)
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
TNEALJanuary 24th, 2011, 10:03 am
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 278
Nice posts...

I'd rather just go fishin'.. size, shape, shade... no trout knows what insect it's eating; they see what they want to see and react accordingly...
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