Subject: Found dozens dead by the river
Geographic location of the bug: Western Massachusetts
Time: 08:45 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello bugman-
I was walking by the river this morning and found dozens of these bugs dead on small rocks. I cannot identify them. Do you know what they are? And is it normal to come across what seems like a mass death? Thanks for any insight you can provide and keep up the amazing work!
How you want your letter signed: Best wishes, Lucy
These are not dead insects. They are the exuviae or shed exoskeletons of Stonefly naiads. The aquatic larvae of Stonflies are aquatic, and when they approach maturity, they climb out of the water and molt for the final time, emerging as winged adults. You did not encounter a “mass death” but rather, evidence of a mass emergence.