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Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2011/4/29 10:35
From Boiling Springs, PA
Posts: 44
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Quote:

Chaz wrote:
They are too small to be drakes, look at the size of the bug compared to the guys hand and fingers. Not even big enough to be a MB.


Well I'd have to disagree with that assessment. First you have to consider camera angle. Then the same approximate distance on my hand the from the same portion of the finger as in the photo of the mayfly is almost 18mm, and I do not have a giant hand or a small one, pretty much average size. The size range for most of the Ephemera varia that we have here in PA is from 13-20 mm. The specimen in question fits in that size range. These mayflies like most of the Ephemerids have very large size ranges. For example look at a female green drake from Penns compared to a male from Pine or Kettle creeek there's a big difference. My records show that theE. varia from the yellow breeeches that I have collected have a size range from 15-18 mm for the males and 17-21mm for the females. The free stone versions are much smaller, so although size may be a distiguishing characteristic, it may not be the most relaiable one. A size range may be a better one. The next character to look at would be the head. In the fuzzy photo you can still see that the eyes are wide set and the head is not flattened like that of a heptageniid mayfly. Instead the head is small in proportion to the metanotum again fitting the description of the Ephemerids. The abdominal markings look to be a close fit the description of Needham, 1920, 1935, and Burks 1953 for Ephemera varia. There are no heptageniids with adult abdominal markings like this. The dark markings on the crossviens also fit the description of Ephemera varia again see Needham 1920, Needham 1935, and Burks 1953. The fore legs have the banding at the joint of the femur and tibia, again fitting the description of E. varia. And then you have the timing, which as well all know is not a great way to identify a mayfly, but in general, it's yellow drake time in PA.

As to how to tell the difference between E.. varia and E. guttulata the obvious difference in the dun statge is the overall coloring of the mayfly dorsal abdominal markings. In general, because again there is a lot of variation in the coloration of mayflies, the E. guttulata will be darker in coloration with a slight green hue in the wings and a yellow creamy coloration to the ventral side of the abdomen in the dun stage than the more lighter creamy whitish yellow of E. varia.In E. guttulata the dorsal side of the abdomen will be a dark continuous band running the whole lenght of the abdomen. In E. varia the dorsal abdominal portion of the mayfly will have a series of dark markings with a lighter medial stripe along the entire abdomen. In the spinner stage the dorsal stripe on E. guttulata is not there and the abdomen is without marking for the most part. The dorsal portion of the abdomen retains the markings of the dun stage in E. varia.

Posted on: 6/27 9:01


Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2013/2/16 0:51
From Chester County
Posts: 386
Offline
That was super helpful, thanks! Based on what you said I agree it was a yellow drake (E. Varia). your size estimate was spot on. I measured those two spots on my hand and it's 17-19 mm.

For comparison here is the lone Green Drake I saw on the same stream two weeks prior.

Attach file:



jpg  GD.jpg (77.30 KB)
7984_53ad876ce1053.jpg 599X579 px

Posted on: 6/27 11:02


Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7605
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You cannot consider a flies identification without taking into account the habitat, Yellow Drakes are found only in water of the highest quality, I doubt that description fix the Breeches or Hammer Creek. They are pretty rare in PA. As to the size the drakes are big and the flies pictured are not as big as I'd expect Yellow Drakes to be.
With that in mind I still think they are cahills of some sort.

Posted on: 6/27 19:30
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Re: Bugs on Hammer
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/11 8:26
From Chester County
Posts: 8944
Offline
Quote:

crepuscular wrote:
Quote:

Chaz wrote:
They are too small to be drakes, look at the size of the bug compared to the guys hand and fingers. Not even big enough to be a MB.


Well I'd have to disagree with that assessment. First you have to consider camera angle. Then the same approximate distance on my hand the from the same portion of the finger as in the photo of the mayfly is almost 18mm, and I do not have a giant hand or a small one, pretty much average size. The size range for most of the Ephemera varia that we have here in PA is from 13-20 mm. The specimen in question fits in that size range. These mayflies like most of the Ephemerids have very large size ranges. For example look at a female green drake from Penns compared to a male from Pine or Kettle creeek there's a big difference. My records show that theE. varia from the yellow breeeches that I have collected have a size range from 15-18 mm for the males and 17-21mm for the females. The free stone versions are much smaller, so although size may be a distiguishing characteristic, it may not be the most relaiable one. A size range may be a better one. The next character to look at would be the head. In the fuzzy photo you can still see that the eyes are wide set and the head is not flattened like that of a heptageniid mayfly. Instead the head is small in proportion to the metanotum again fitting the description of the Ephemerids. The abdominal markings look to be a close fit the description of Needham, 1920, 1935, and Burks 1953 for Ephemera varia. There are no heptageniids with adult abdominal markings like this. The dark markings on the crossviens also fit the description of Ephemera varia again see Needham 1920, Needham 1935, and Burks 1953. The fore legs have the banding at the joint of the femur and tibia, again fitting the description of E. varia. And then you have the timing, which as well all know is not a great way to identify a mayfly, but in general, it's yellow drake time in PA.

As to how to tell the difference between E.. varia and E. guttulata the obvious difference in the dun statge is the overall coloring of the mayfly dorsal abdominal markings. In general, because again there is a lot of variation in the coloration of mayflies, the E. guttulata will be darker in coloration with a slight green hue in the wings and a yellow creamy coloration to the ventral side of the abdomen in the dun stage than the more lighter creamy whitish yellow of E. varia.In E. guttulata the dorsal side of the abdomen will be a dark continuous band running the whole lenght of the abdomen. In E. varia the dorsal abdominal portion of the mayfly will have a series of dark markings with a lighter medial stripe along the entire abdomen. In the spinner stage the dorsal stripe on E. guttulata is not there and the abdomen is without marking for the most part. The dorsal portion of the abdomen retains the markings of the dun stage in E. varia.



I "know" Crepuscular through the Internet. He stares at bugs through microscopes and has a tank at home to study them.

Anyway, check out the OP pic and a pic of a yellow drake spinner from Troutnut. Add to that the identification "keys" Crep mentioned along with the references he posted. You decide for yourself.


Attach file:



jpg  Bug in question.jpg (105.41 KB)
53_53ae9a3f212b3.jpg 518X744 px

jpg  Yellow Drake Spinner.jpg (50.39 KB)
53_53ae9a533e80b.jpg 816X450 px

Posted on: 6/28 6:35


Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2011/4/29 10:35
From Boiling Springs, PA
Posts: 44
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Quote:

Chaz wrote:
You cannot consider a flies identification without taking into account the habitat, Yellow Drakes are found only in water of the highest quality, I doubt that description fix the Breeches or Hammer Creek. They are pretty rare in PA. As to the size the drakes are big and the flies pictured are not as big as I'd expect Yellow Drakes to be.
With that in mind I still think they are cahills of some sort.


So you're saying that I haven’t collected E. varia from the breeches? Wow. I'm not sure how to take that one.

In addition to this I would be happy to have a science-based discussion on the taxonomy of an aquatic insect, there have been plenty of times when I have been wrong about determinations. I am not the end all be all on aquatic insect taxonomy (but it is my vocation). To just put it out there that someone is wrong about identification because of speculation about size, species abundance, habitat requirements and pollution tolerance seems a bit much.

I would agree that the presence of some species of mayflies in a particular stream is limited by habitat requirements, but that has nothing to do with their taxonomy. The Ephemerids are burrowing mayflies and therefore require silty areas to burrow into, both Hammer and the Breeches have plenty of that type of habitat.
As far as water quality goes, E. varia has a Hilsenhoff value of 3 the same as Ephemerella invaria. While I would agree that they like decent water I think we all know that the sulphur Ephemerella invaria is fairly ubiquitous. Also, E. varia may not be as rare as you think. In many cases however they do not occur in large numbers in most streams. Hoover 2001 (which is the most complete mayfly distribution work completed for PA)documented E. varia in 48 different streams in PA including the Yellow Breeches. Of the 48 listed creeks several are listed by DEP as impaired.


I was just trying to help answer a question.

Posted on: 6/30 14:01


Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 13423
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To followup on afish's post, here's your typical size 14ish cahill from a Berk's Cty freestoner in mid-June a few years back.

If we knew number of tails, it would sort this thing out. Yellow Drake = 3 tails. Any of the wide number of cahill possibilities = 2 tails.

Resized Image

Posted on: 6/30 14:49


Re: Bugs on Hammer
Moderator
Joined:
2006/9/9 19:16
From Dallastown, PA
Posts: 7019
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For me it was the horseshoe shaped markings on the end of the abdomen segments that threw it into the Drake box. Cahills don't have them to my knowledge. also Pat look at the head size and stoutness of the Cahill you posted compares to OP (or Afish posts) mayfly.

I wouldn't hang onto that comparison very long. It seems obvious to me.

My money is on the resident Entomologists opinion.

Posted on: 6/30 16:34
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Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2010/4/18 14:05
From pennsylvania
Posts: 463
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Very interesting exchange.
sarce-
I would suggest that you sign onto the Troutnut Forum http://www.troutnut.com/register

and submit your photos to the "Get Bugs Identified" sub-forum.

http://www.troutnut.com/board/about-identifying

No more guesses by amateur (pseudo?) entomologists.
Answers by real ones - like crepuscular.


Posted on: 6/30 20:46
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Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
6/18 20:59
Posts: 281
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Crep - offers scientific data supporting identification

Chaz - "you're wrong"

I went to high school with crep, known him since 1980-ish. He knows his stuff and does it for a profession. Chance he's correct...nearly 100%. Chance Chaz will correct him but still be wrong....also nearly 100%

LMAO

Posted on: 6/30 21:03
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Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2013/2/16 0:51
From Chester County
Posts: 386
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Chaz...is just Chaz. Which reminds me, what ever happened to helpful chaz?

I trust crepuscular on this. Maybe I will try the troutnut forum in the future for bug ID.

Shoulda just emailed Hoover and been done with it. I don't mean that as a knock on this forum but a LOT of people said Cahill, and that's wrong.

Posted on: 6/30 23:34
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Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2012/8/21 18:22
From Chester County
Posts: 402
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Sarce wrote: "Chaz...is just Chaz. Which reminds me, what ever happened to helpful chaz?"

He got lost in a thunderstorm.

(The opportunity there was just too good to pass up.)

Posted on: 7/1 10:40


Re: Bugs on Hammer

Joined:
2006/9/9 17:18
From lancaster county
Posts: 6434
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Chaz,

Hammer creeks water quality is a lot better than most streams. I too have seen these flies and yes the are big. I've never caught one but always assumed them to be a yellow drake. I've never seen fish able numbers of them though...

Posted on: 7/6 18:39
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