Dennis R. Preston preston at PILOT.MSU.EDU
Fri Jun 15 14:33:16 UTC 2001

If the beetle we called a "junebug" down Louisville way (which we
tied to strings and let fly around in circles) turns out to be a
mayfly in Western New York, I'd say that lexical stability ain't got
no more of a chance than a junebug in a chicken coop (one of my
favorite home-town proverbialisms).


>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

Dennis R. Preston
Department of Linguistics and Languages
Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA
preston at
Office: (517)353-0740
Fax: (517)432-2736

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