Friday 26 February 2021

Stoneflies of Late Winter

If you spend any amount of time near flowing water at this time of year, as the days start to warm up, you may notice some insects crawling around on the snow. They may just happen to be winter stoneflies (Family Capniidae)! There are 26 species of Capniids in Eastern Canada, represented by eight genera. 

Allocapnia female

Allocapnia male

I went out this afternoon and searched for winter stoneflies along the banks of the Medway Creek in London. I found quite a few! I ended up collecting some, and using a key, I identified them as Common Snowfly (Allocapnia granulata). Below is a female. 

Process on sternite 8, distinctively shaped! 

Identification of these insects is a tedious process involving a microscope, but its always satisfying when you reach a reasonable conclusion and are able to assign a name to something! 

I'll be definitely keeping an eye out for more stoneflies. Even if you don't intend to make a specific ID, keep an eye to the ground, and maybe you'll see one of these neat bugs! 

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