Stone Fly Life Cycle: A Quick Guide to These Aquatic Insects

Stoneflies are fascinating insects known for their unique life cycle. As a crucial part of various ecosystems, understanding their life cycle can provide valuable insights into the health of the environment. We’ll explore the key stages of a stonefly’s life and how they metamorphose from nymphs to fully grown adult insects. In the beginning of … Read more

Stonefly: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

Stoneflies are fascinating insects that play an essential role in the ecosystems they inhabit. They belong to the order Plecoptera and can be found near clean, cool streams and rivers. These insects are not only captivating to observe, but they also serve as important indicators of water quality and environmental health.

As you begin to explore the world of stoneflies, you’ll discover that their life cycle is quite unique. Adult stoneflies have two pairs of clear, membranous wings, as well as long, threadlike antennae. Their dull, dark colors help them blend in with their surroundings. They start their lives as aquatic larvae known as nymphs or naiads, which have six sprawling legs and a segmented abdomen with two long tails. Stoneflies are usually found around stones in streams, giving them their common name.

In this article, you’ll get to know more about these intriguing insects, their life cycle, their significance in the environment, and how their presence can provide valuable information about water quality. So, let’s dive in and explore the captivating world of stoneflies.

Understanding Stonefly

Stoneflies are fascinating insects that can be found in various aquatic habitats. These little creatures play a vital role in their ecosystems. In this section, you’ll learn about the basic characteristics, life cycle, and importance of stoneflies.

Stoneflies belong to the order Plecoptera. They are usually dull and come in colors like dark brown, yellow, or sometimes green. Most of their life is spent underwater as nymphs before emerging as adult stoneflies. Adult stoneflies have two pairs of clear, membranous wings that rest closely down their back. They also possess long, threadlike antennae.

Nymphs, also known as naiads, are aquatic creatures. They have six legs, a flat body, and a segmented abdomen with two long appendages. The nymphs can be found in well-aerated, flowing water where they live for up to three years. Stonefly nymphs are often seen on or around stones in streams and rivers, hence their common name.

Some characteristics of stoneflies include:

  • Two pairs of wings in adults
  • Long, threadlike antennae
  • Aquatic nymph stage
  • Dull colors
  • Found in streams or rivers

Stoneflies have an intriguing life cycle. Adult stoneflies lay their eggs in water, and once the larvae hatch, they resemble small, wingless versions of the adults. With each molt, the nymphs gradually develop a more adult-like appearance. This life cycle is completed when they metamorphose into their winged adult form.

Despite living in the water, stoneflies are not harmful to humans or animals. They don’t feed on people, plants, or trees and do not bother our ecosystem. In fact, they play an essential role in the food chain, serving as prey for various fish species.

Now that you have a basic understanding of stoneflies, you can appreciate their significance in maintaining the health and balance of aquatic ecosystems. By learning about these small yet essential insects, you’re taking an important step toward understanding the delicate interplay of life within our natural world.

Stonefly Software and Hardware Components

Stonefly Hardware

Stonefly offers a variety of hardware components for their storage solutions. They include NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices, SAN (Storage Area Network) devices, and servers. These components are designed to work seamlessly with their software solutions, ensuring efficient storage management, data security, and scalability. Key features of Stonefly hardware include:

  • High-performance servers
  • Integrated hypervisors
  • Advanced networking capabilities

As an example, one of Stonefly’s flagship products is their Stonefly Private Cloud, which combines the power of dedicated hardware with the flexibility of cloud technology.

Stonefly Software

Stonefly software solutions are designed to manage and optimize their hardware components. They offer a range of features for data management, protection, and optimization, such as deduplication, thin provisioning, and software-defined networking. Here is a list of some key software features:

  • StoneFusion: An operating system that provides centralized management of storage environments
  • SCVM: A virtual storage appliance that helps consolidate storage and streamline management
  • Backup software: Provides data protection and disaster recovery functionalities

Additionally, Stonefly offers software-defined storage solutions, which help to simplify storage management and improve flexibility across their hardware offerings. These features allow you to customize your storage environment, making it more efficient and adaptable to your specific needs.

In conclusion, Stonefly provides comprehensive software and hardware components to help you optimize your data storage infrastructure. By understanding the features and capabilities of each component, you can make informed decisions when selecting the right solutions for your organization.

Stonefly Data Management

Data Storage and Backup Solutions

When managing data for stoneflies, you’ll want to have robust storage and backup solutions. Consider using a network attached storage (NAS) or a storage area network (SAN). These systems allow you to store large amounts of data efficiently. For example:

  • NAS: An easy-to-use option for file sharing and collaboration among multiple users.
  • SAN: Offers increased performance and scalability, suitable for demanding workloads.

When it comes to backups, consider the following methods:

  • Snapshots: Quickly capture the state of your data at a specific point in time.
  • Backup Vaults: Safely store multiple versions of your files offsite.
  • S3 Object Storage: Leverage cloud-based storage services like Amazon S3 for added redundancy and accessibility.
Storage Option Pros Cons
NAS User-friendly Limited scale
SAN Scalable More complex
S3 Object Storage Cloud-based May require additional fees

Data Protection Features

Ensuring the security of your stonefly data is essential. Here are some key features to consider:

  • Write-Once Read-Many (WORM): Preserve data integrity by preventing modification or deletion.
  • Air-Gapped Volumes: Isolate sensitive data with a physical barrier to guard against ransomware and unauthorized access.
  • Anti-Virus and Anti-Ransomware: Use software that scans, detects, and removes potential threats before they can cause damage. For example, Windows Defender or Norton AntiVirus.
  • Encryption: Protect your data with encryption techniques, both in transit and at rest. Solutions like SSL/TLS and AES-256 can secure your data effectively.

In summary, to protect your stonefly data, store and back up your information using reliable systems like NAS, SAN, or S3 object storage. Implement security features like WORM, air-gapped volumes, anti-virus, anti-ransomware, and encryption to safeguard your research.

Performance and Availability

When observing stonefly performance, they serve an essential role in their ecosystems. Stoneflies provide valuable services, such as aiding in nutrient cycling and serving as a critical food source for other organisms like fish and birds. For example, stonefly larvae consume algae, living plants, dead leaves, wood, and even each other, making them vital to the food chain1.

Stoneflies have a high availability in different environments. They can be found in various types of streams, from perennial ones that flow year-round to intermittent ones that may experience reduced or lack of flow during certain seasons2. Their presence is an indicator of water quality; healthy populations of stoneflies signal good water quality, while their absence can indicate pollution3.

Let’s compare their performance in perennial and intermittent streams:

Stream Type Stonefly Presence Water Quality
Perennial High Good, stable conditions
Intermittent Variable Can fluctuate or be poorer

Key features of stoneflies include:

  • Aquatic larvae
  • Adult emergence in winter and early spring
  • Indicators of water quality
  • Ancient order of insects dating back 300 million years4

In summary, stoneflies play a vital role in their ecosystems, providing significant ecological benefits. Their performance and availability across different types of streams showcase their adaptability and usefulness as water quality indicators.

Virtualization with StoneFly

Virtual Machines and Hypervisors

When discussing StoneFly, it’s essential to understand the concept of virtual machines (VMs). Virtual machines are software-based environments used to run programs as if they were on a physical computer. Virtualization technology enables the creation of multiple VMs on a single physical machine, sharing resources such as CPU, memory, and storage.

For virtual machines to run, a hypervisor is required. A hypervisor is a software layer responsible for managing VMs and their resources. There are two types of hypervisors:

  • Type 1: Native hypervisors run directly on the host’s hardware in kernel mode (e.g., VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, Oracle VM Server, Xen)
  • Type 2: Hosted hypervisors run as a process inside the host OS, often hardware-accelerated (e.g., VMware Workstation, VirtualBox, QEMU)

Hyper-converged and Converged Infrastructure

When it comes to data center consolidation, StoneFly offers converged infrastructure and hyper-converged appliances. Converged infrastructure combines compute, storage, and networking into a single system to simplify management and reduce costs. On the other hand, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) takes it a step further by incorporating virtualization technology directly into the appliances, creating a fully integrated software-defined environment.

Advantages of converged infrastructure:

  • Simplified management
  • Reduced costs
  • Scalability

Disadvantages of converged infrastructure:

  • Less flexibility compared to hyper-converged infrastructure
  • May require additional software for virtualization

Advantages of hyper-converged infrastructure:

  • Greater scalability and flexibility
  • Integrated virtualization technology
  • Simplified management

Disadvantages of hyper-converged infrastructure:

  • Potential hardware lock-in with specific vendors
  • May require an initial investment in new appliances

Stonefly Storage Solutions

When choosing storage solutions for your Stonefly setup, it’s essential to consider various factors like storage resources, tiered storage, and cost-effectiveness. Let’s explore some key aspects to help you make an informed decision.

Unified Storage: Unifying your storage infrastructure simplifies management and increases operational efficiency. A good example is the NIST SP 800-209 guideline, which covers storage virtualization and cloud-hosted resources.

Tiered Storage Architecture: By implementing a tiered storage system, you can dynamically allocate your resources based on performance needs and budget constraints. Here’s a quick comparison:

Pros Cons
Flash Fast access Higher price
Flashcache Improved performance Additional cost
HDD Lower cost Slower access

Scalability: Opting for a storage solution with scale-out capabilities allows you to expand your storage capacity seamlessly, while scale-up options may have hardware limitations. So, always consider long-term growth.

Storage Provisioning and Tiering: By automating storage provisioning and implementing storage tiering, you can optimize resource utilization, ensuring your most critical data is always accessible.

Some attractive features of Stonefly storage solutions include:

  • Write-once-read-many (WORM) storage to prevent data tampering
  • Cost-effective tiered storage that balances performance and price
  • Highly scalable systems to accommodate future growth

In conclusion, when selecting a Stonefly storage solution, prioritize operational efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Remember to evaluate your storage resource requirements, unifying your storage infrastructure with tiered systems when possible, and always keep an eye on future growth. Happy storage hunting!

Security with Stonefly

When it comes to Stoneflies, you don’t need to worry about security issues. Stoneflies are friendly aquatic insects that play a vital role in our ecosystem. They neither feed on people, animals, plants, or trees, nor do they invade our pantries or nest in our homes1.

While stoneflies are secure creatures, consider encrypting your data in other areas. For example, when using digital devices, it is essential to protect your sensitive information using encryption methods. This can help you safeguard your privacy and secure your online experiences.

Here’s a quick comparison between Stonefly security and data encryption:

Aspect Stonefly security Data encryption
Purpose Ensuring a healthy ecosystem Protecting digital data
Target Aquatic environments Digital devices, networks
Effectiveness Reliable indicator of water quality Secure method for protecting information

Remember to practice safe and secure habits, both in the natural world and online.

Stonefly Use Cases

Stoneflies have a variety of uses in different aspects of the environment. Let’s explore some of their critical workloads and use-cases.

Environmental Indicators

Stoneflies serve as environmental indicators in aquatic ecosystems. Their presence or absence can help determine the health of rivers or streams. Healthy stonefly populations often imply good water quality and stable ecosystems.

Fish Food Supply

Stonefly nymphs and larvae are an essential food source for many fish species. Their abundance in freshwater habitats supports thriving fish communities, contributing to the health and biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems.

Biological Control

Stoneflies can play a role in controlling some aquatic pests. They feed on various invertebrates, including harmful ones, helping maintain a balance in aquatic ecosystems.

Scientific Research

Researchers often study stonefly species like the meltwater stonefly to better understand the effects of climate change on freshwater ecosystems. The meltwater stonefly, for example, is sensitive to temperature changes, and its population decline has implications for ecosystem dynamics.

To summarize, stoneflies hold various critical workloads mainly related to maintaining stable and healthy aquatic ecosystems. Their presence in freshwater habitats serves as an environmental indicator, providing essential insight into water quality. They are also a significant food supply for fish species and contribute to biological control through predation on aquatic pests.

Costs and Pricing of Stonefly

When considering the costs and pricing of stoneflies, it’s essential to understand the factors that determine these costs. To help you understand this, here are some important points regarding the costs and pricing of stoneflies.

Stoneflies are insects belonging to the order Plecoptera and have more than 670 species in North America. Because of the vast diversity of stoneflies, you may find variations in prices depending on the specific species and their availability in your area.

Prices can also be affected by factors such as the intended use of the stoneflies. For example, certain species are popular among fishermen as bait, while others might be more suited for research purposes or as a resource for aquatic ecosystem health. As a result, the demand for certain stoneflies may influence their cost.

While it’s difficult to provide specific pricing for each type of stonefly, it’s important to consider the total cost of ownership when acquiring them. For instance, if you’re using stoneflies for scientific research or as a hobby, you might need to factor in additional costs, such as transport, storage, and equipment needed for studying or maintaining the insects.

In summary, when you’re looking into stoneflies and their costs, keep the following points in mind to make an informed decision:

  • The species and availability of stoneflies in your region
  • Their intended use (fishing bait, research, ecosystem health assessments)
  • Additional costs associated with owning and maintaining stoneflies

Additional Features

Stonefly Management

When it comes to stonefly management, it’s important to ensure a healthy environment for these insects, as they are sensitive to water quality and often used as indicators for habitat health. For example, properly maintaining the cleanliness of streams and rivers can help support stonefly populations.

Cloud Connect and On-Premises Options

Stoneflies can be found in both cloud-connected environments, such as high-elevation springs and streams, like the Northern forestfly, and on-premises locations, such as rivers and lower-elevation habitats.

Caching and Stream Scaling

In their aquatic habitats, stonefly larvae play a crucial role in stream ecosystems by caching and breaking down organic materials. This helps maintain a balanced ecosystem that can scale to support various organisms living within the stream.

Hardware Appliances: Hot Tier Storage

Regarding hot tier storage, stoneflies act as a natural “hardware appliance” in aquatic systems. Their feeding habits help break down organic matter and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Considering these critical features of stoneflies, here are some pros and cons of their presence in aquatic ecosystems:


  • Contribute to a healthy and balanced ecosystem
  • Act as indicators of water quality
  • Provide food for other organisms


  • Can be sensitive to environmental changes
  • May be vulnerable to pollution and habitat degradation
  • Requires regular monitoring for conservation efforts

In conclusion, stoneflies are essential in maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems. By understanding their additional features and the benefits they provide, you can have a better appreciation for these unique insects and their role in our environment.


  1. Stoneflies and mayflies, canaries of our streams 2

  2. Effects of stream permanence on stonefly (Insecta, Plecoptera)

  3. Stoneflies | Missouri Department of Conservation

  4. Ecosystem Services, Global Diversity, and Rate of Stonefly Species

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Small Winter Stonefly


Bugs on Outside of home
Location: Central PA
December 4, 2011 12:36 pm
Hello, I have these little bugs all over the outside of my house. I am not sure what they are. There are a lot of them and I didn’t know if I should get them taken care of the issue or not. Thanks for your time.
Signature: Ryan Lucas

Small Winter Stonefly

Dear Ryan,
This is a Small Winter Stonefly in the family Capniidae and this past January, a submission from Pennsylvania was our featured Bug of the Month.  Small Winter Stoneflies, which are sometimes called Snowflies, will not harm your family nor your home.  They are harmless creatures that need fresh unpolluted water to survive, so their presence in large numbers is an indication that you have unpolluted running water nearby. 

Thank you for the quick response!!
It is good to know that these are safe bugs and that the stream nearby is not polluted.  It’s a great site you have and is very helpful.
Thanks again!!
Ryan Lucas

Letter 2 – Giant Stonefly or Salmonfly


Interesting Long Black Bug
July 18, 2009
Thanks for taking a look at this bug. It was hanging out on the side of our house, and wasn’t afraid when I brought the camera lens up close. It must have been at least two inches long, and that may have been just the body length. It was late spring. I have higher resolution pictures if required.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Hi Shilo,
This is a Giant Stonefly or Salmonfly in the genus Pteronarcys.  There is a matching photo on BugGuide also from Alberta Canada.

Letter 3 – Giant Stonefly


Large Flying Insect
Location: Elmira (upstate) NY
January 7, 2011 5:50 am
This large unusual flying insect appeared on my printer in April of 2008.
I took a shot of it because it was so unusual looking to me. I’ve had the photo in my comp ever since and while cleaning my files came across it again. I’m still curious what is this bug? I haven’t seen one since I snapped the shot.
Signature: Debbie F

Giant Stonefly

Hi Debbie,
This is a Giant Stonefly in the genus
Pteronarcys.  Of the entire family Pteronarcyidae, BugGuide indicates:  “st nymphs develop in medium to large rivers adults are nocturnal and often attracted to light.”  They are sometimes called Salmonflies.

Letter 4 – Springfly


Subject:  Flying earwig termite??
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington state
Date: 04/02/2019
Time: 07:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found this guy climbing up the wall inside our house after he was knocked off a blanket.. initially thought termite? But the things on his butt made me think earwig. Tried googling to no avail..
Currently April 2nd in Washington state.
Thank you for reading,
How you want your letter signed:  AJ


Dear AJ,
This is a Stonefly, a harmless insect that is found not far from a source of fresh water because they develop as aquatic larvae or naiads.  We believe we have matched your individual to this image posted to BugGuide of a Stonefly in the genus
Skawla which is classified in the subfamily Perlodinae, commonly called Springflies, presumably because they fly in the spring.

Letter 5 – Giant Stonefly


Big orange neuropteran(?) Seattle
Location: Seattle (Woodinville)
April 26, 2011 12:27 am
The kids spotted this
”Squee! Can it hurt us?”
”I don’t think so: no sting, and it looks like chewing mandibles”
”Ooo, it can FLY”

Giant Stonefly

”I wanna hold it”
”Mee too”
Well, it was outside, on an unusually non-rainy and warm spring day (4/24/11) here in a rural suburb of Seattle, at our new house, where there are a lot of creeks and swampy ground. We found our first-ever salamander the same day. The critter likes syrup, can fly, and is unusually …charismatic… for the area. Since there are all sorts of worries about invasives here like Asian Longhorn Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer, I thought it best to ask before letting it go. Unfortunately, I had no film for the camera with the macro lens, so I took these with a cheap little cameera while holding a magnifier in front of it.
I know you’re on vacation, but I hope you can take a look when you get back….
Signature: George

Giant Stonefly

Hi George,
What a marvelous story.  This beauty is a Giant Stonefly or Salmonfly.  See BugGuide for more information.

Giant Stonefly

Yep: Just after I posted the picture on my facebook, my college daughter (who had been with me and her sisters when we found it) popped-in with:
“Hey I searched online! it looks like a skwala stonefly, also known as the american springfly. the nymphs are aquatic, and they make good fishing bait apparently. and only the females have wings.
“I figured there weren’t that many large insects in washington with wings and orange bits. google images for the species, then searched that for an informative website. haha
So it’s apparently Skwala americana, and she’s quite a genius.
Actually, we’ve always been a critter family: One of the attractions of this new place was the peculiar superabundance of garter snakes for the kids to play with (makes for smelly laundary though). I regularly make mud for the daubers when it’s dry, and keep Polistes as pets (ask me about it sometime); the girls like to feed them, and bumbles, beetles, butterflies and whatever else will take it, with sugar-on-the-finger. Makes for good memories and pictures. I was surprized the stonefly so avidly took sugar syrup; I always thought the adults of such things were ephemeral, non-feeding.
I have quite a few pictures, and many more stories, about my childhood, adulthood, and THEIR childhood adventures with insects and other wildlife; I should write a book.
BTW, I appreciate your site: it’s a useful service, of more value than you realize. Scientists everywhere (and you do indeed qualify) need to do public outreach. Here is a discussion on the topic by a prominent and controversial scientist, famous for his obstreperousness:
Much Thanks,

Thanks for the followup and kind compliment George.

Letter 6 – Giant Stonefly


Dobsonfly or not?
April 20, 2010
Hello there,
This insect was discovered in the woods, near a creek, Port Moody, BC, several days ago. It resembles a Dobsonfly except has orangy-red colouring, anal cerci, no pinchers, and wings are held flat (not roof like) against its body. It is 52mm in length. Is it a Dobsonfly?
thanks very much for your help, Leigh S.
Port Moody, British Columbia, Canada

Giant Stonefly

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