Herb Stahlke hstahlke at GW.BSU.EDU
Fri Jun 15 13:39:02 UTC 2001

Now that we've had some pretty good coverage of fishfly, I'm curious about "June bug," whether that's the same thing.  We used to be plagued by insects meeting the descriptions of the fishfly and at about the same time, but this was around the eastern end of Lake Erie.  Is this just a regional name for the same insect?

Herb Stahlke

>>> pds at VISI.COM 06/14/01 08:42PM >>>
At 11:02 PM 6/13/2001 -0500, I wrote:
>My cousin is a bug specialist at the LaCrosse WI DNR station.  I'll see if
>she can shed any light.

As promised:

"Fishfly" is a generic common name which can apply to various types of
aquatic insects, but it is MOST COMMONLY used in the stretch of river
mentioned in the quote you sent below as a synonym for big river mayflies
(Ephemeroptera).  Hexaginia bilineata is the genus and species of the big
river mayfly.  Some of their relatives, very similar in size but paler in
color, Hexagenia limbata, are often mixed in with swarms of H. bilineata,
but usually not in such large numbers.  H. limbatalarva can inhabit lakes
and tributary streams, whereas H. bilineata larva usually are  limited to
very large rivers such as the Mississippi.  "Fishfly" is used in the
vernacular as a collective term covering both species.  As the dictionary
mentions, it can also be used to refer to insects in other aquatic orders,
but not commonly in the upper Mississippi valley.  "Fishfly" means "big
mayfly that swarms" there, I think.

Glad I could help out. You have fufilled my annual goal of enlightening at
least 1 public entity about mayflies at this time of year--a common time
for media interviews on the topic.

J. Terry Dukerschein
WDNR Mississippi River Resource Trend Analysis Field Station

  Tom Kysilko        Practical Data Services
  pds at       Saint Paul MN USA

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