Currently viewing the category: "Stoneflies and Snowflies"

Subject:  Winter stonefly?
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwestern Pennsylvania
Date: 03/03/2021
Time: 05:54 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, thank you for all the work you do.  It is truly helpful.  I took this picture in SW Pennsylvania on March 3rd next to a fast-moving stream.  Is this a mating pair of winter stoneflies?  Any help would be appreciated.  Thank you so much.
How you want your letter signed:  Adam

Mating Stoneflies

Thanks for your kind words Adam.  When you sent in this request over a month ago, Daniel had not returned to responding to identification requests, a hiatus he took for about a year.  Today was a slow request day so Daniel went back through unanswered mail and found your request.  These are definitely Stoneflies in the order Plecoptera and they do appear to be engaged in some sort of activity related to mating.  We cannot conclusively provide you with a family or species.

Subject:  Found dozens dead by the river
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Massachusetts
Date: 08/14/2019
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

Stonefly Exuviae

Dear 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.

That is amazing! Thanks so much for letting me know. I’ll read up on this. So cool…
Every day in the woods is a new adventure. So much to learn and be awed by.
Thanks again for taking time to explain. I truly appreciate it.
Warmest regards,

Subject:  Antlion maybe
Geographic location of the bug:  west Delores River, fir tree trunk near flooded river
Date: 07/09/2019
Time: 12:34 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I would like an identification on what is probably a mature ant lion of south western Colorado at a picnic area 10 feet from the stream.
How you want your letter signed:  Joanne


Dear Joanne,
This is not an Antlion.  It is a Giant Stonefly in the genus
Pteronarcys, commonly called a Salmonfly.  Since the larvae are aquatic, Stoneflies are usually found quite close to water.  According FinsAndFeathersOnline:  “25%, maybe more of our ramblings as anglers is about the mythical, 3-inch enchanting salmon fly. Especially around this time of year! It’s hard to avoid the fly fishing chatter of anglers exploiting the famed long aquatic insect. Fishing this hatch gets our blood bumping and longing for the story to our arsenal of impressive fishing stories.  Salmonflies are very large stone flies! Montana has three salmonfly species: the most common being the giant salmonfly (Pteronarcys californic. The other two are the American salmonfly (Pteronarcys dorsat), and the least salmonfly (Pteronarcella badia). The least salmonfly is a little bit smaller than the giant and the American. They usually get up to 2 inches, and are in their nymph stage for about 2 years. The American and giant have the bright orange or red band behind their head and the underside of their abdomen.”

Thank you very much.  And so quick too. I see a almost perfect match in my Kaufman Book but didn’t know where to look.  Joanne

Subject:  What is this bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  South Central Wisconsin
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 02:27 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
We have found TWO of these bugs in our home in the last 12 hours. We live in a small city, but our house is at the end of a street adjacent to farm fields. Given the amount of rain we have had this spring, there is standing water in some areas of the fields not far from our house. I have never seen any of these bugs before that I know of, but especially not in our house. Last night’s sighting including the bug crawling up from the inside of a new reclining chair!
How you want your letter signed:  K

Midwestern Salmonfly

Dear K,
This is a Giant Stonefly or Salmonfly in the genus
Pteronarcys.  Based on your location, we are surmising this is a Midwestern Salmonfly, Pteronarcys pictetii, which is pictured on BugGuide.

Subject:  Can someone ID this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Pennsylvania
Date: 06/12/2019
Time: 12:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found one in a bedroom closet, and another on my patio. Please help! I need to know what this is.
How you want your letter signed:  Samantha


Dear Samantha,
Do you live near a body of water?  This is a Stonefly, an insect with an aquatic larval form.  It is harmless.  We surmise it accidentally found its way into your closet.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.


Yes, we have a small stream running through our property. I am glad to know what this is, as I was terrified it was a roach. Thank you for your quick response as well.

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.