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  • Entomology 101

    After some thinking and some recent posts I've thought I would share with the board some information on basic entomology and how it relates to trout fishing. Hopefully, I can continue to add to this in the coming days and weeks.


    First off insects aren't that complicated if you know how to divide and conquer. To easily split groups of insects up, one can look at how the transition from egg to adult. We call that metamorphosis which means change in life. Some insects (more primitive) go through incomplete metamorphosis also labeled as simple or hemimetabolous. This means that they have 3 main life stages which include egg, nymph and adult. The nymph is the immature stage and can look similar or completely different than the adult. Complete metamorphosis or holometabolous insects have 4 life stages and they are egg, larvae, pupa and adult. The larva stage is similar to the nymphal stage of hemimetabolous insects where the major growth happens but in holometabolous insects there is a non-feeding transition in the pupa stage. This pupa stage sets the table for the adult form.



    Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and Stoneflies (Plecoptera) go through incomplete metamorphosis and emerge into the adult form from nymphs. This is similar to other orders of insects including Dragonflies (Odonata). Caddisflies (Trichoptera) and Midges (Diptera) undergo complete metamorphosis so they add another stage and transition through life similarly to Butterflies (Lepidoptera).

    For fly fisherman, this means that when targeting Caddisflies and Midges one might want to carry an extra fly or two to cover the pupa stage that can look and act different than the larva stage. The pupa stage is also extremely important during emergence or hatches and can be the difference in matching the hatch or not.


    Check back soon for some information on how to better understand what’s going on during an insect hatch from the view of the insect.



    Shine

  • #2
    Shine, thanks for the info. Good to see somebody I know on here. (reece akins budy from UGA Engineering)

    -Matt

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    • #3
      Matt,

      It's good to hear from you. I didn't realize you were a trout fisherman, maybe if I get back up that way I'll let you know and we could fish some together. Hope everything is going well with you and your family.


      Shine

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      • #4
        Shine,

        this is great information for all of us trying to figure out what is out there and what the fish are triggering on.

        Buy any chance do you have any pictures to go with the insect descriptions ?
        Nothing is impossible the impossible just takes a little longer. So take your time and enjoy the experience.
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Since I don't personally have any pictures and don't want to deal with copyright. How about I add some links to my favorite entomological/trout fishing site; www.troutnut.com.

          I'll work on that today or tomorrow and see if I can't make the post a little easier with some pictures.



          Shine

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          • #6
            I know this might sound kind of elementary, but I would like to have a card the size of a charge card. On it would have the shapes of the different bugs and their cycle. Basics of Caddis, Mayfly, etc.. One the other side are basics like hook sizes and other basic information. This could be accessible in wader pocket or where ever. Just an idea.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UGAflyfisher View Post
              Since I don't personally have any pictures and don't want to deal with copyright. How about I add some links to my favorite entomological/trout fishing site; www.troutnut.com.

              I'll work on that today or tomorrow and see if I can't make the post a little easier with some pictures.



              Shine

              That sounds great Shine !

              I just think that will help folks visualize what they are seeing.
              Nothing is impossible the impossible just takes a little longer. So take your time and enjoy the experience.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Hmmm. I might be able to design something like that. It could be printed out on a home computer and then clear taped over to laminate it. In my spare time I'll see what I can do to fit into a smaller area like that.

                For the time being I'll upload a printable .pdf to my personal website that has some quick information with some general pictures of different insect and their stages, along with some flies that you could match them with.



                http://web.me.com/shine.taylor/Site/...Entomology.pdf



                Shine
                Last edited by UGAflyfisher; 04-06-10, 10:01 AM. Reason: to add link

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                • #9
                  THANKS!
                  I just saved a copy of that .pdf file. That will be helpful for me.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for the info! Been interested in this stuff for a long time. I know many of us are grateful for your initiative to educate.

                    I am trying to build a small collection of preserved specimens for teaching purposes. Are there any books you would suggest for learning how to id and categorize down to a specific species?
                    Seth Sullivan

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tboy View Post
                      Thanks for the info! Been interested in this stuff for a long time. I know many of us are grateful for your initiative to educate.

                      I am trying to build a small collection of preserved specimens for teaching purposes. Are there any books you would suggest for learning how to id and categorize down to a specific species?


                      tboy,

                      I would like to say there is an easy way to ID insects down to species but there isn't usually. I actually cringed when you said species and as being a trained entomologist have trouble getting some insects down to the family level. Aquatic insects should be easier but I think they have the same revision problems that all insects face. How do we put a label on something that isn't easily labeled.

                      Also, in most insect taxonomy books ID is based on adult characteristics and many species can't be ID from the immatures. For example after a quick review of Aquatic Insects in California. (Usinger, 1971) most Caddisfly ID comes from a microscopic look at the adult male genitalia. I'm sure there are easier and more complete keys now but they are probably based on those characteristics. Immature insect taxonomy is definitely muddy water IMHO but I think there are texts that would at least get you down to family. I will have to look in the literature to find those texts because I'm not an aquatic entomologist. Even the insect that I work on (whitefly, B. tabaci) which is a huge economic pest all around the world has had major revisions within the last 20 years. I've sat in many different scientific lectures debating whether or not this whitefly is this species or that. I'm sure the aquatic guys do the same thing.

                      To start off I would recommend picking up:

                      http://www.amazon.com/Anglers-Aquati...9891879&sr=1-1


                      I use it often and would be a good starting point on your quest to learn more about aquatic insects. It also talks fishing strategy and techniques. I'm not sure why it's so expensive right now though. Maybe it's out of print?

                      I'll do some digging and see if I can't come up with any more texts for you.




                      Shine
                      Last edited by UGAflyfisher; 04-07-10, 12:35 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Arrrrrrgh-----

                        Haven't got any hair left to pull out after study of "bugs". Will stick w/ big / little yellow bug----big / little brown bug way of choosing flys, but thanks for doing this for the folks that will use it. TRW

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                        • #13
                          Ah... I was wondering if that goal was achievable. Guess I'll go as far as I can find. Thx for the book info! This will be an interesting study for the rest of this semester. I have been picking up some bugs every time im out fishing and keeping them in rubbing alcohol till i get the right stuff to preserve them better. Hopefully I can ID them decently with some practice! its just for fun anyhow.
                          Seth Sullivan

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                          • #14
                            Keep going as far as you can. It's a fun process. I know I enjoy it. Just don't get discouraged over exact ID. It's a swift kick in the you know what.


                            Shine

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                            • #15
                              I have been borrowing the book you suggested from a friend, I also came across a great in-depth guide to identifying and classifying aquatic insects. Chris Scalley let me borrow this one (its one of those books that cost 120 bones new) called Aquatic Entomology by W. Patrick McCaffery. great book for both the entomologist and fisherman. I do believe it is used as a text book as well...
                              Seth Sullivan

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