Insect Identification logo

Giant Stonefly (Pteronarcys species)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Giant Stonefly, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 8/1/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Giant Stonefly  
Picture of Giant-Stonefly
Picture of Giant-Stonefly Picture of Giant-StoneflyPicture of Giant-Stonefly

The Giant Stonefly is a sensitive and useful insect for anglers and biologists alike.

Giant Stoneflies are a narrow-bodied insect that are identifiable by their highly veined wings. These wings are very long and crossover the body when folded at rest, covering the Stonefly's whole body and even extending out over them. Giant Stoneflies also have long, thin antennae near their eyes. Their eyes are found on either side of the head. Bodies may appear to be black, brown or gray. A orange or red color may appear on the thorax ('neck').

Larvae are hatched in water where they spend their early phases of their lives. The naiads (juveniles) of Giant Stoneflies are incredibly sensitive to pollution and die off quickly in unclean waters. Biologists and fishermen and women use the presence of Giant Stoneflies as a mark, or indicator, of how clean the water is in that area.

Stoneflies are nocturnal creatures and generally live in areas near freshwater streams or rivers. Only the nymphs eat and they prefer to feed on algae and other plant material underwater. Adults do not eat at all.

Stoneflies, in general, can be attracted to artificial light in the late spring and early summer times of the year.

Picture of the Giant Stonefly
Picture of the Giant Stonefly

Giant Stonefly Information

Category: Stonefly
Common Name: Giant Stonefly
Scientific Name: Pteronarcys species
Other Name(s): Salmonfly

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Plecoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Pteronarcidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Pteronarcys
       Arrow graphic Species: species

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 40 mm to 84 mm (1.56 inches to 3.276 inches)
Identifying Colors: black; brown; gray
Additional Descriptors: veins, flying, helpful

North American Territorial 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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that 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. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

Images Gallery


BugFinder: What is it?