Stoneflies (taeniopterygidae) as known as willow flies are relatives of the grasshopper and termite. Adult stoneflies are dark brown or black and can be found during the day or at night. Stoneflies can range anywhere from 5-50mm in body length. They tend to spend most of their lives as larvae, living at the bottom of rivers/streams, hanging onto rocks and other wooden debris. Stoneflies are typically found in the winter season, while most other insects are hibernating. They primarily live near high paced streams, rivers, bridges and stones. Many other
pollutants in the air during the fall and spring, causes a reduction in oxygen levels for the stoneflies. So, winter becomes the most active time for stoneflies. Should you be concerned of stoneflies? None to say the least. Seeing Stoneflies in your local rivers/streams is a positive sign of a healthy environment as they thrive on the water quality within those waters. Streams and/or rivers with low oxygen levels and any signs of pollution do not support the growth and proper living conditions to stoneflies. Which is why Pollution Control Agencies love them…because they are so sensitive to water conditions, it helps the agencies get an idea of the river’s water quality within that area. Stoneflies need high amounts of dissolved oxygen from the rivers so, when the dissolved oxygen levels are low the stoneflies disappear. A rule of thumb is that typically if trout live in the water, it is more than likely that so are the stoneflies as they both tend to need the same environmental qualities.
Stoneflies are not like your typical house fly. They will not bother you when you are out on your family day picnic or surrounding your fish basket when you are out of the boat. Stoneflies are like dragonflies. You may see them and they may fly close, but never to eat anything on you or in your basket. Stoneflies are actually detritivores. Detritivores tend to eat broken down organic matter such as living or dead plant material. As juveniles, stoneflies feed of organic plant material or aquatic vegetation. However, as adults, stoneflies tend to stop eating vegan and have been known to eat aquatic insects as well as other stoneflies.The best time to catch some of these amazing stoneflies within your area, are during the winter time down by the streams when the streams are covered in snow.
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