Brown’s River

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Streams logo web.jpg Brown’s River
Basin:Lamoile
State or Province:Vermont
Country:USA
Latitude:44.50656
Longitude:-72.99767
School:Saint Michael's College


This site is for Brown's River in Jericho Vermont. The following are the most common invertebrates collected from this stream site.

Chironomidae

Chironomidae.jpg
Order
Diptera
Family
Chironomidae


Common name
Nonbiting midge
Tied fly
Griffith's Gnat
Midge larvae tend to be the most common macroinvertebrate at our sites. As with other Diptera, there are no true jointed legs. Chironomidae do have a pair of prolegs at each end and preserved individuals tend to curl into a 'C'. Identification past family requires slide-mounted heads. We have seen philopotamid caddisflies misidentified with the chironomids and we suspect that that happens when samples are being sorted from trays. Under a microscope, six prominent legs can be seen on members of the caddisfly family Philopotamidae.

More information on Philopotamidae.




Hexatoma

Hexatoma.jpg
Order
Diptera
Family
Tipulidae
Genus
Hexatoma


This Tipulidae can be identified by the swollen 7th abdominal segment. The swelling is bulbous and frequently as much as 2X abdominal diameter in preserved specimens.




Hydropsychidae

Hydropsyche.jpg
Order
Trichoptera (caddisfly)
Family
Hydropsychidae


Common name
net spinning caddisfly
Tied fly
Emergent Sparkle Pupa, Vermont Hare's Ear
This family of net-spinning caddisflies is very abundant at several sites. They are important filtering collectors and are quite common at urban and agricultural sites where particles of organic material can be important food resources. Genus-level identification is possible for mature specimens and we will include the genera we found at your site if possible.

When using the key, some features that are challenging to see are the forked trochantin and the paired sclerites in the folds between segments. Other, more easily seen key features include filamentous gills on the abdominal segments and the sclerotization of the dorsal surfaces of all three thoracic segments. Keep in mind that with smaller or more immature specimens, genus-level ID may not be possible.

Commonly found genera include Cheumatopsyche, Ceratopsyche, and Hydropsyche. Less commonly, we have found Arctopsyche and Potamyia.

Images of the forked trochantin and the paired sclerites.




Optioservus

Optioservus (Larvae).jpg
Order
Coleoptera
Family
Elmidae
Genus
Optioservus


The larvae of Optioservus have open coxae, as determined by the straight definition between segments on the ventral side of the pronotum.

The adult Optioservus have a compact appearance, especially the head and thorax. There are also dorsal ridges and a characteristic diamond-shaped sutellum observable in the dorsal view.

Images of the straight definition between segments, the dorsal ridgesand the diamond-shaped scutellum.




Stenelmis

Stenelmis (larvae).jpg
Order
Coleoptera
Family
Elmidae
Genus
Stenelmis


The larvae of Stenelmis, as in Ordobrevia, have a sternum on the ventral side of the pronotum. The main difference between the two genera is in the antennae the second segment is less than twice as long as the first in Stenelmis.

The adult Stenelmis has a clear separation between the thorax and abdomen as well as a more distinctly separate head as compared to other genera.

Click here to see pictures of the sternum and antennae-




Psephenus

Psephenus.jpg
Order
Coleoptera
Family
Psephenidae
Genus
Psephenus


The true "water penny" is commonly found in the waters sampled. Psephenus has a rounded shape with relatively smooth edge. The false water penny, whose edges are serrated, has a more oval appearance. The gills on the ventral surface are found only in the true water pennies.

Another genus encountered in this family is Ectopria.



Serratella

Serratella.jpg
Order
Ephemeroptera
Family
Ephemerellidae
Genus
Serratella


Serratella's distinguishing feature is the set of paired tubercles on the dorsum of its abdomen.

Click her to view the paired tubercles.



Rhyacophila

Rhyacophila.jpg
Order
Trichoptera
Family
Rhyacophilidae
Genus
Rhyacophila


Common name
Green Caddis
Tied fly
Henryville Special or Glass Bead Caddis
In our lab, Rhyacophila is known as the "Michelin Man" due to its large banded body. It has a very obviously checker-patterned head. It also has terrifying anal claws with large accessory hooks.

Links to images that may be useful if you have a magnifying glass or microscope: Checker-patterned head. Anal claws with large accessory hooks.




Glossosomatidae

Glossosoma - Whole3.jpg
Order
Trichoptera
Family
Glossosomatidae


Common name
saddlecase caddisfly
Larvae in this family build domed cases made of small rocks, and are often wider at segment 5. The pronotum is covered in dark, sclerotized plates, but there are either no sclerites on the mesonotum, or the mesonotum is unsclerotized with the exception of a few patches. The anal proleg is broadly joined to segment 9; the anal claw has one or more accessory hooks. The pronotal excision is small (approximately 1/3 anterolaterally) to accommodate the coxae.

Commonly encountered genera include Glossosoma and Agapetus.




Perlidae

Agnetina.jpg
Order
Plecoptera
Family
Perlidae


Common name
The Golden Stonefly Creeper
Tied fly
Connecticut Curler
This stonefly is characterized by the three pairs of filamentous gills located on the sides of all three thoracic segments. It is distinguished from the family Pteronarcyidae by the absence of gills on the abdominal segments. Often, the thoracic terga are brightly patterned as pictured, though this is not always the case. Another important feature is that the paraglossae and glossae extend different lengths.

Images of filamentous gills and the family Pteronarcyidae.

Genera commonly encountered in this family include Acroneuria, Agnetina, and Paragnetina. Less commonly, we have found Perlesta.

Very rarely encountered genera include Neoperla and Hansonoperla. If you believe you have found either of these, please send a specimen our way!




Heptagenia

Heptagenia.jpg
Order
Ephemeroptera
Family
Heptageniidae
Genus
Heptagenia


Tied fly
Little Graywinged Olive
Heptagenia are easily characterized by their flat head. The claws have just one basal tooth and no denticles (serrated edges). The gill on abdominal segment 7 has multiple fibrils at is base (thread-like structures) and has a single tooth on its claws but is smooth otherwise. Gills on segment 7 are similar to those on all other segments, but may be smaller in size.




Isonychia

Isonychia.jpg
Order
Ephemeroptera
Family
Isonychiidae
Genus
Isonychia


Common name
The Dun Variant
Tied fly
Flick's Dun Variant
This mayfly has unique long hairs on its forelegs as the main distinguishing characteristic (allowing anyone keying to move through quickly). Carefully observe the limbs because such hair can be matted down and therefore hidden in preserved wet specimens. The body of Isonychia is slim and "minnow-like" when observed dorsally. In specimens we collected, they were commonly brown and substantial in length and width as compared to the very common Baetidae.

Even when individuals are immature, closer inspection can reveal the setae on the forelegs.

Image of the long hair on its forelegs.



Ancylidae

AF 40002 D Ancylus fluviatilis b.jpg
Order
Basommatophora
Family
Ancylidae


Members of the family Ancylidae belong in the class of Gastropoda. As Pulmonate snails, these members breathe using lung-like structures but can also use a gill-like structure called a pseudobranch to extract oxygen from water. Their shallow conical shells look like those of miniature limpets.

More information on the class of Gastropoda.



Polycentropus

Polycentropus.jpg
Order
Trichoptera
Family
Polycentropodidae
Genus
Polycentropus


The most common genus we encounter is Polycentropus. These caseless caddisflies frequently have speckled or freckled heads. The anal proleg typically has a prominent black X, although it can in some specimens appear to be a little faded. They are common at Oakledge Park in Lake Champlain, where we also find an additional genus in the same family: Nyctiophylax.

Click to see the speckled or freckled heads or the prominent black X.