About "Mystery Creeks": I love small streams, but some of my favorite little trout streams are too small and too fragile to publicize here. If you recognize one of these, you already understand why I'm keeping it a secret. These are the kinds of places that lose a little bit of their charm if you see someone else's week-old footprint, and I don't want to do that to them.
Closeup insects from Mystery Creek # 199
Male Serratella micheneri (Little Western Dark Hendrickson) Mayfly Nymph
View 9 PicturesThis specimen has tarsal claws (Tarsal claw: The claws at the tip of the tarsus, on an insect's "foot.") with 7 denticles (
Denticle: Small tooth-like projects, often appearing like serrations on the tarsal claws of certain mayfly nymphs.) and tubercles (
The denticles on the tarsal claw of this Ephemerella
nymph are highlighted in red.
Tubercle: Various peculiar little bumps or projections on an insect. Their character is important for the identification of many kinds of insects, such as the nymphs of Ephemerellidae mayflies.) on abdominal segments 4-7 only. It keys to Serratella micheneri, as do some other specimens from the same collection that lacked the dorsal (Dorsal: Top.) stripe.
A few (not all) of the abdominal tubercles on this Ephemerella needhami
nymph are circled. They are especially large in this species.
Ameletus (Brown Duns) Mayfly Nymph
View 2 PicturesThese two exuviae are my sad little consolation prize after collecting a couple of really cool, large, mature mayfly nymphs I didn't recognize from a tiny, probably fishless, spring-fed tributary of a slightly less tiny trout stream. I saw the nymphs in the kicknet samples and carefully transferred each one to my holding cooler before going to collect more samples. When I got home, I carefully went through the whole sample and couldn't find either one of them. Getting worried, I did it again and even more carefully. This time, I found both exuviae. By process of elimination, pretty much the only possibility is that both of them hatched out of my cooler and flew away during the 10 minutes or so that I had the lid off to collect more samples.
I was really excited about them for the whole three-hour drive home and seriously bummed that they disappeared. In the field I thought they might be one of the families of swimmer nymphs I don't have yet, like Ametropodidae, but keying the exuviae takes me to Ameletus, so at least I didn't miss some great rarity. Still, they were much larger and darker than any other Ameletus I've collected and probably a species I don't have yet.
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