Random Insect: Winter stonefly

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Winter stonefly (Plecoptera: Taeniopterygidae) photographed 02/27/2016 near Blissfield, Michigan.

Although I’ve written about winter stoneflies (Plecoptera: Taeniopterygidae) once or twice before, the other day I came across an individual that represented the earliest one I had ever seen. On February 27 I was visiting my dad on his farm in southeast Michigan and while out near the River Raisin I noticed this one crawling around.

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Winter stonefly (Plecoptera: Taeniopterygidae) photographed 02/27/2016 near Blissfield, Michigan.

One might think our record-breaking high temperature of 64 F (18 C) brought this insect out and about, but in reality the weather brought *me* out and about to find it. Winter stoneflies don’t need warm, sunny days to be active. These cold-adapted insects are at their peak from January to April. The aquatic nymphs thrive in cold, oxygen-rich winter waters of rivers and streams, feeding mostly on decaying plant material. In late winter they emerge to molt into adults, living just long enough to mate and lay eggs in the water from which they came.

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Winter stonefly (Plecoptera: Taeniopterygidae) photographed 02/27/2016 near Blissfield, Michigan.

These hardy arthropods have become my favorite insects to find in the harsh depths of winter. They just go to show that there’s always a bright spot to discover among the seemingly lifeless cold.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, Entomology, Invertebrate Zoology, Random Insect and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Random Insect: Winter stonefly

  1. Miriam says:

    I’m not normally an insect person but this fella is actually quite attractive!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will have to look for these guys..new to me..thanks

    Like

  3. Jet Eliot says:

    Beautiful and hardy too, I like that.

    Like

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