Stoneflies (Plecoptera)

Greek "pleco" (folded) + "ptera" (wings)

Stoneflies have long antennae and long segmented cerci (tails). Their forewings are long and narrow and held crossed over the back, covering the shorter hind wings. Adult stoneflies are mostly found on the ground near streams and running water where they eat algae or lichen. They are not active fliers, and they generally don't live long. Some do not have mouthparts. Their young, called nymphs, live under stones in fast-moving water and feed on algae and water plants. Stonefly nymphs are a good indicator of whether a stream is unpolluted since they require a high degree of purity and oxygen in the water. Stoneflies are most common in cool climates.

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© 1999 Nick Kurzenko
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Golden Stonefly
© 2005 William Leonard
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Stonefly Larva
© 2006 Joyce Gross

Quick ID

  • Long antennae
  • Long cerci (tails)
  • Wings folded horizontally over back

More information about Stoneflies

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Last updated: Jan 3, 2017