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Shawnny3June 20th, 2012, 9:49 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
I know we've been through this before, but tonight I saw these guys IN the stream in numbers that were hard to believe. The algae in the middle of the stream was covered with thousands and thousands of them, all alive and well as far as I could tell. The pic covers the breadth of colors pretty well.

-Shawn

P.S. I am now taking a vial with me to the stream and will attempt to photograph bugs before I ask the experts to identify them. I know this probably insults their capabilities and makes the ID's too easy, but I figure it's the least I can do.
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
TaxonJune 21st, 2012, 12:26 am
Site Editor
Mercer Island, WA

Posts: 1151
Hi Shawn-

They are actually millipedes, as they have two pair of legs on each segment, as opposed to the one pair which centipedes have. Millipedes are sightless, and their migrations seem not to be deterred by crossing a stream. I've plowed this field before, and as far as I was able to determine, there aren't any aquatic species of millipedes, but they certainly seem to have a single-mindedness of purpose. :-).
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
OldredbarnJune 21st, 2012, 9:51 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2157
Shawn,

Did you see any fish taking them? I hope not...My boxes are filled to the brim as it is! :)

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
Shawnny3June 21st, 2012, 11:46 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Fish weren't taking anything. Well, except for a little inchworm pattern that's kept me from a skunking many times - I picked up a few on that. Tough fishing on a really tough little creek. I had to earn my fish.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRobertsJune 21st, 2012, 12:22 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1407
I saw those too -earlier this spring in the Hudson Valley. They were under wet soggy leaf litter we turned when looking for salamanders along a very small headwater stream. Same centipede-like millipedes. Speaking of centipedes, a buddy and I found a HUGE pale centipede in SE CO a month or so ago. It was ~8" long and leg sprawl probably an inch. Talk about the heeby-jeebys. My friend collected it to send to a centipede specialist. It turned out to be a common plains species, but at the far northern edge of its range.
EntomanJune 21st, 2012, 1:06 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2468
Ah, come on Spence! Tie some vinyl rib on a long shank hook, rib with saddle in the gaps and trim to shape. Load up them boxes, man! :)
"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
Jmw975June 23rd, 2012, 10:04 pm
Guelph, Ontario

Posts: 20
I know there are aquatic millipedes in Australia, but I've never heard of any in North America. I'll look into this further and see if I can find any info!

Jeff
EntomanJune 24th, 2012, 2:12 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2468
Shawn,

Fish weren't taking anything. Well, except for a little inchworm pattern that's kept me from a skunking many times

Interesting... Same general silhouette as the millipedes - similar size?
"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
TaxonJune 24th, 2012, 4:01 pm
Site Editor
Mercer Island, WA

Posts: 1151
Dear Dr. Shelley,

Are there any aquatic millipedes in N. America? My belief is that there are not, but I just discovered your specialty on BugGuide, and thought this would be a great opportunity to find out for sure.



Sincerely,

Roger Rohrbeck
Mercer Island, WA
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com

No, there are no aquatic millipeds in N America or anywhere else in the world. This is because they lack a structure, a gill, to extract oxygen from water; their respiratory system is specially adapted for extracting oxygen from air, just like ours as humans is. However, there are many millipeds, like Oxidus gracilis in your photos, that can SURVIVE under water for surprising lengths of time, and I’m not sure why but perhaps it is because an air bubble gets trapped around their spiracles, as in some diving beetles. Once the oxygen in that air bubble is depleted, however, the milliped/beetle must replenish it with more air or drown.

Hope this is helpful.

Rowland M. Shelley, Ph. D.
Curator of Terrestrial Invertebrates
North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Jmd123June 24th, 2012, 5:59 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 1684
Hmmmmmm, curiouser and curiouser...

Jonathon

P.S. Shouldn't be hard to imitate - I'd use ostrich herl for the legs myself...
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnJune 24th, 2012, 10:36 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2157
Gee Roger! Nothing like going to the source for an answer...:) The Curator of Terrestrial Invertebrates...Wow! As my mother used to say, "You learn something new every day." My wife thinks I can put them asleep now when I explain to guests the "Life Cycle of the Mayfly"...Wait until I corner one of our dinner guests with what I know about millipeds! :)

As Jess might say, "Nice play, bro!"

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
TaxonJune 24th, 2012, 11:32 pm
Site Editor
Mercer Island, WA

Posts: 1151
Hi, Spence. It's great to hear from you again. Actually, I've found that most professional entomologists are extremely gracious about answering questions from a non-credentialed enthusiast like me, particularly when they are not asked to identify a specimen from a photo. :-)
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
Shawnny3June 25th, 2012, 11:53 am
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Fascinating. Thanks for following up, Roger.

Kurt, I don't think the inchworm was imitating the millipedes. I was fishing near the confluence of two creeks. I spent most of my time fishing in one of them, then noticed the millipedes in the other one as I was getting into position to fish the pool at the confluence just before leaving. I didn't notice any millipedes in the stream I fished most of the time. Sorry if my previous posts lacked clarity - it may have sounded like I tried fishing the millipede "hatch". I didn't have time to explore either upstream or downstream very far from the place loaded with millipedes - I may have just stumbled upon a concentrated migration path. If fish take these, though, it wouldn't surprise me if they could be a really important terrestrial, though - like many others, I have seen them by the thousands on streamside rocks many times. I'll probably tie up a few imitations to test that hypothesis the next time I run into a concentration in the stream. In a pinch, a large caddis larva or small hellgrammite tie might make a pretty good imitation.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRobertsJune 25th, 2012, 2:41 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1407
For clarity, the millipedes I found in NY were NOT "aquatic" just in damp areas close the stream.
EntomanJune 25th, 2012, 11:13 pm
Site Editor
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2468
Kurt, I don't think the inchworm was imitating the millipedes...

Oh well... Woulda been cool though!:)
"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
Jmw975June 28th, 2012, 7:50 am
Guelph, Ontario

Posts: 20
No, there are no aquatic millipeds in N America or anywhere else in the world.


Interesting indeed. The information I had on aquatic millipedes in Australia came from another millipede specialist, Dr. Dennis Black of La Trobe University, whose PhD was on millipede taxonomy. It seems even the experts can't agree!

Jeff
Shawnny3August 5th, 2012, 4:00 pm
Moderator
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
This past weekend, while fishing the West Branch for the first time, we ran into a bait fisherman who was in the process of landing a brown. He manhandled the fish pretty good, and while extracting his worm from the fish's gut, he squeezed the fish pretty hard and some of the stomach contents came up with the worm. Among the blob of goo? Several of these millipedes.

-Shawn
Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
www.davisflydesigns.com
PaulRobertsAugust 7th, 2012, 12:17 pm
Colorado

Posts: 1407
Neat.

I was back in the Hudson Highlands in July and my son found a mass of those same flattish (dorso-ventrally) millipedes we'd found along the little headwater creek last spring. "Hundreds" my son said. These however were along a boardwalk a good 100 yards from water (a little stream). It appears they mass up in large numbers at times.
Jmd123August 8th, 2012, 2:22 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 1684
Some transparent brown vinyl for the body, ostrich herl for the legs...maybe a size 10 nymph hook, bent slightly...who knows, could be deadly...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...

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