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Stoneflies - Plecoptera: Capniidae of Gunnison County, Colorado

Introduction to the Capniidae
Winter Stoneflies, Snowfly, Slender Winter Stonefly, Small Winter Stoneflies

Updated 27 April 2016
TSN 102643

Provisional Species List

Capnia coloradensis
Capnia confusa
Capnia gracilaria
Capnia nana
Capnia vernalis
Eucapnopsis brevicauda
Isocapnia crinita
Isocapnia grandis
Utacapnia logana
Utacapnia poda

Field Notes

2007 - In the upper East River Valley near Gothic, adults were seen in large numbers on the snow on the 18th of April.
2016 - Very common in the East River valley again in March and April

Local Research Results

Colorado has 21 species in the winter stonefly family Capniidae. Ten species have been found in the Gunnison Basin so far (Kondratieff and Baumann 2002).

Good Links

On this website:
Capnia Introduction

Other Websites:
Adult Capniidae Key - Aquatic Insects of Michigan by Ethan Bright http://aquaticinsects.org/Keys/Plecoptera/id_pom_capniidae.html

Capniidae from the Tree of Life Web project http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Capniidae&contgroup=Plecoptera

Discussion of winter stoneflies from the Xerces Society


Baumann,RW 1979 Nearctic stonefly genera as indicators of ecological parameters (Plecoptera: Insecta). The Great Basin Naturalist, 241-244. PDF
     Quote from page 242:"Genera in the Capniidae often have species which occur in warm lotic habitats. These species are only found in the nymph or adult stage during the cold winter months. They go into a diapause in the warm months, as noted by Khoo (1968). Several capniid species also occur in very northern arctic localities, where they emerge during late summer, when conditions are most favorable. Some species, including several members of the genus Capnia, are found in lakes at high altitudes and seem to emerge and complete their life cycle when the ice breaks. Only one species, Capnia lacustra Jewett (Nebeker and Gaufin), is strictly confined to a lotic habitat (Frantz and Cordone 1966)."

Baumann,RW, Gaufin,AR and Surdick,RF 1977 The stoneflies (Plecoptera) of the Rocky Mountains. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 31, 1-208.
     Quote from page 56: "The members of this family are small, black stoneflies, mostly less than 12 millimeters in length, whose wings lie flat when at rest. Reduction in wing length is quite common, especially in the males with brachypterous, micropterous and apterous species represented.
Capniidae can be separated in the adult stage from the other families in the Nemouroideae by the presence of long many segmented cerci.
Most species emerge in the winter or early spring which is why they are called the "winter stoneflies." The emerging adults can be extremely abundant in February and they are often found crawling over the snow or on bridge abutments in profusion. "

Cummins,KW; Wilzbach,MA; Gates,DM; Perry,JB; Taliaferro,WB 1989 Shredders and riparian vegetation. BioScience, 39(1), 24-30. PDF

Hanson,JF 1946 Comparative morphology and taxonomy of the Capniidae (Plecoptera) American Midland Naturalist 35(1) 193-249 first page

Harper,PP; Lauzon,M; Harper,F 1991 Life cycles of 12 species of winter stoneflies from Quebec (Plecoptera, Capniidae and Taeniopterygidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 69 3, 787-796.

Jacobi,GZ; Cary,SJ 1996 Winter stoneflies (Plecoptera) in seasonal habitats in New Mexico, USA. Journal of the North American Benthological Society (15) 4, 690-699. Abstract

Kondratieff and Baumann 2002 A review of the stoneflies of Colorado with description of a new species of Capnia (Plecoptera: Capniidae) Transactions of the North American Entomological Society. 128(4)385-401.

Nebeker,AV and Gaufin,AR 1967 Geographic and seasonal distribution of the family Capniidae of Western North America (Plecoptera). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 40(3) 415-421. Abstract and first page

Nelson,RC; Baumann,RW 1989 Systematics and distribution of the winter stonefly genus Capnia (Plecoptera: Capniidae) in North America. Great Basin Naturalist (49) 289-363. PDF

Nelson,RC and Kondratieff,BC 1988 A new species of Capnia (Plecoptera: Capniidae) from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Entomological News 99 2, 77-80.

Short,RA and Ward,JV 1981 Trophic ecology of three winter stoneflies (Plecoptera). American Midland Naturalist 105, 341-347.

Zwick,P 2006 New family characters of larval Plecoptera, with an analysis of the Chloroperlidae: Paraperlinae. Aquatic Insects, 28:13-22.
     Abstract: "Larval structures diagnostic of several Plecoptera families, subfamilies or genera are described and illustrated. They concern the following: distinction of larval Leuctridae from Capniidae; an additional apomorphy of Nemouridae; a synapomorphy of Perlidae and Perlodidae; monophyly of each of the two subfamilies of Chloroperlidae, and the generic limits among Chloroperlidae: Paraperlinae. Paraperla lepnevae Zhiltzova is transferred to Utaperla. Some comments on Notonemouridae are included."

Brown, WS 2004 Plecoptera or Stoneflies of Gunnison County, Colorado

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