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  • American Salmonfly - (Pteronarcys dorsata)

    American Salmonfly - (Pteronarcys dorsata)

    The large and unassuming American Salmonfly is a water-loving, ecologically sensitive insect that occasionally plays opossum.

    Picture of American Salmonfly
    Staff Writer (5/17/2017): As a member of the Stonefly family, the American Salmonfly is a useful bio-indicator. The larvae of the American Salmonfly live in water during the early life stages and are extremely sensitive to pollution. If the water is laced with chemicals, the larvae will die. Hence, the sight of many adults means the water source and the ecosystem it supports is healthy.

    Adults do not eat. They rest on rocks or branches near or above water, waiting for opportunities to reproduce. Females drop fertilized eggs into the water where they hatch and develop into naiads (juveniles). Larvae eat algae and other rotting plant matter underwater.

    If adults are threatened, they can release a chemical irritant from their legs in hopes of dissuading an attacker. If that fails, they may play dead. American Salmonflies are the largest North American stonefly and are most active from late spring to late summer.

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    Details of the:
    American Salmonfly

    Category: Stonefly
    Common name: American Salmonfly
    Scientific Name: Pteronarcys dorsata
    Other Names: Stonefly

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Plecoptera
          Family: Pteronarcyidae
           Genus: Pteronarcys
            Species: dorsata

    Size (Adult, Length): 31mm to 48mm (1.22in to 1.89in)

    Identifying Colors: brown, red, black, gray, green

    Additional Descriptors: flying, helpful

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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