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> > Mayflies from the Mekong

PaulRobertsJanuary 5th, 2015, 9:09 pm

Posts: 1776
Spent the holidays along the Mekong/Nam Ou in northern Laos. And a few mayflies found me. Seasonally it was the "winter" (into the mid 40sF at night) dry season.

One was a very abundant very Ephoron-like critter, about a #16 I failed to get a pic of.

The others (apologies for the image quality):

A Heptageniid:

A Leptophlebiid?:

A minute Caenis-sized critter -possibly a Baetid:

Not expecting IDs; just to share.
Kschaefer3January 6th, 2015, 11:21 am
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
These are really cool! It amazes me how similar mayflies from the other side of the globe look to ours. Do you see any fish rising to them?

Do you have any scenery pictures from the Mekong area? I would love to see them if you do and wouldn't mind sharing.
TroutnutJanuary 6th, 2015, 12:03 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2727
Very cool! And yes I'd love to see more pictures from the trip, too. Especially rivers/fish.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
PaulRobertsJanuary 6th, 2015, 10:18 pm

Posts: 1776
I didnít fish. In planning the trip I entertained the idea of searching out some Mahseer along the way but from what I could gather such a trip would have to be an expedition all its own. Laos, while having a relatively small human population and delayed in its modern infrastructure development (mostly Chinese funded and constructed), its wildlife has been largely devoured or sold off in parts for medicinal use. While passing through villages we found serow, muntjac, civet, bintarong, porcupine, bamboo rat, and sundry parts and pieces including gall bladders for sale. I wasnít allowed to photograph any animal parts at the markets as there has been some attempts by the government to regulate take, and villagers didn't want any publicity. A biologist we met on her way back to Germany after 2 years with hill tribes trying to find a way to curb the destruction was worn out and nearly despondent, essentially saying that Laos wildlife is simply going to be eaten, and thatís that. I really donít know how true that is, or what the real status of wildlife is in Laos. I know the Wildlife Conservation Society is active there at some level.

Mahseer are apparently now relegated to remote regions. Thailand has better protected parks and the Mahseer are doing better there and somewhat easier to access. Another time perhaps. The Mekong system has mostly cyprinids, loaches, catfishes (including the Giant Mekong Catfish), and gobies. I had arranged to do a little cast-netting with a local villager but returned too late that evening.

Some river photos from Laos:

Nam Khan River:

Nam Ou:

You can see wings in the air here. Swallows and swiftlets were constantly over the river.

Fisherman tending a gill net.

Nets and fish traps of all types were everywhere.

Nam Ou / Mekong confluence:

TroutnutJanuary 7th, 2015, 11:58 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2727
Very interesting pictures, thanks for posting! Those waterfalls are amazing.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
EntomanJanuary 7th, 2015, 12:29 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Awesome, Paul... I seem to remember some giant fish in those environs from an episode or two of one of my favorite shows, River Monsters.
"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
Kschaefer3January 7th, 2015, 1:35 pm
St. Paul, MN

Posts: 376
Paul - Those pictures are incredible, thanks! I love rivers. :)
PaulRobertsJanuary 7th, 2015, 6:37 pm

Posts: 1776
Yes, Kurt, the giant mekong cat is one of, if not the, largest freshwater fish. And there are some huge carp too. Catches in general, like just about everywhere, are getting smaller and fish size is diminishing. There is an effort underway to propagate the giant catfish, and their spawning habits are pretty well known. Their life history involves nearly the entire river, with spawning in the upper reaches, and proposed hydro projects are expected to add further challenges if not kill them off outright.

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