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Common Stonefly (Paragnetina media)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Common Stonefly.

 Updated: 8/16/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Long, slender Common Stonefly adults are often found near streams where they once swam, avoiding trout and other hungry fish.



The Common Stonefly is a member of the Perlidae family. Together with Caddisflies and Mayflies, the presence of Stoneflies suggests clean streams and water. The adult looks different from the juvenile. Adult Common Stoneflies are a dark brown or olive-brown color. The wings overlap each other over the body and are covered in dark veins. The base of the antennae are yellow as is the lower part of the head. Between the 'neck' and the wings are two more yellow spots (one near each shoulder). A look at the body under the wings reveals two tails that are generally covered by the wings from overhead.

Offspring are called naiads and they look more like tiny crustaceans than insects. Females lay eggs on or just above the water's surface and die soon after, sometimes on the water. The hatched naiads spend their life underwater feeding and growing. Once they are ready to become adults, they head to land and metamorphosize into winged adults, leaving their empty exoskeletons behind. Because naiads of Stoneflies are eaten by trout, anglers tend to monitor the presence and life stage of a local population of Stoneflies to better time their fishing expeditions. The area where many naiads leave the water can be a popular feeding spot for trout, where the fish feed on naiads that swim poorly. These emergence sites are therefore popular fishing holes for anglers. Synthetic replicas of the naiads can serve as bait.

Common Stoneflies are most active in the summer and may be more visible in the western provinces and states during the day. Eastern populations may be more active at night.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Plecoptera
        Family: Perlidae
          Genus: Paragnetina
            Species: media
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Paragnetina media
Other Name(s): Embossed Stonefly
Category: Stonefly
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 60mm (0.78in to 2.34in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, yellow, orange, black, white
Descriptors: overlap wings, yellow collar, white specks, flying, aquatic, crustacean, fishing, naiad
Territorial Map
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
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
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.