Ephemeroptera: Heptageniidae of Gunnison County, Colorado
Epeorus albertae (McDunnough) 1924
Slate Cream Dun, Pale Evening Dun, Pink Lady
Updated 8 Oct 2020
On this website:
Introduction to Epeorus
Argyle,DW; Edmunds,GF 1962 Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) of the Curecanti Reservoir Basins Gunnison River, Colorado. University of Utah Anthropological Papers 59 8, 178-189.
Quote from page 185: "The nymphs were found clinging to the surface of rubble stones in riffle areas. They are generally distributed at lower elevations in the Colorado River system. These collections probably represent the upper limits of their altitudinal distribution in this particular part of the upper Colorado River basin."
Cain,DJ; Luoma,SN; Wallace,WG 2004 Linking metal bioaccumulation of aquatic insects to their distribution patterns in a mining-impacted river. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 23, 1463-1473. PDF
Abstract: "Although the differential responses of stream taxa to metal exposure have been exploited for bioassessment and monitoring, the mechanisms affecting these responses are not well understood. In this study, the subcellular partitioning of metals in operationally defined metal-sensitive and detoxified fractions were analyzed in five insect taxa. Samples were collected in two separate years along an extensive metal contamination gradient in the Clark Fork River (MT, USA) to determine if interspecific differences in the metal concentrations of metal-sensitive fractions and detoxified fractions were linked to the differences in distributions of taxa relative to the gradient. Most of the Cd, Cu, and Zn body burdens were internalized and potentially biologically active in all taxa, although all taxa appeared to detoxify metals (e.g., metal bound to cytosolic metal-binding proteins). Metal concentrations associated with metal-sensitive fractions were highest in the mayflies Epeorus albertae and Serratella tibialis, which were rare or absent from the most contaminated sites but occurred at less contaminated sites. Relatively low concentrations of Cu were common to the tolerant taxa Hydropsyche spp. and Baetis spp., which were widely distributed and dominant in the most contaminated sections of the river. This suggested that distributions of taxa along the contamination gradient were more closely related to the bioaccumulation of Cu than of other metals. Metal bioaccumulation did not appear to explain the spatial distribution of the caddisfly Arctopsyche grandis, considered to be a bioindicator of metal effects in the river. Thus, in this system the presence/absence of most of these taxa from sites where metal exposure was elevated could be differentiated on the basis of differences in metal bioaccumulation."
Edmunds,GF and Allen,RK 1964 The Rocky Mountain species of Epeorus (Iron) Eaton (Ephemeroptera: Heptageniidae). Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 37 (4) 275-288. PDF
Edmunds,GF and Musser,GG 1960 The mayfly fauna of Green River in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir Basin Wyoming and Utah. University of Utah Anthropological Papers 48:111-123.
Gilpin,BR and Brusven,MA 1970 Food habits and ecology of mayflies of the St. Maries River in Idaho. Melanderia 4:19-40. PDF
Jensen,SL 1966 The Mayflies of Idaho (Ephemeroptera). M.S. Thesis, University of Utah, Utah. 364 p.
Quote from pages 165-167: "Mcdunnough (1924) described this species from a series of adults collected in Alberta. Edmunds and Allen (1964) provide descriptions of the adults and mature nymphs.
Taxonomy and Biology: Epeorus albertae is closely related to E. dulciana (McDunnough) and the adults of the two species are somewhat difficult to distinguish. They do, however, represent a distinct species group within the genus and are easily distinguished from all other species by characters given in the keys.
The nymps of this species have been collected in large, moderately flowing rivers (less commonly in streams) among rocks and gravel and at eleveations from 4000 to 7000 feet. Edmunds and Musser (1960), in their study of tributaries of the Green River in Wyoming and Utah, report that E. albertae is believed to gradually replace E. longimanus (Eaton) as the water temperatures become warmer at lower elevations. Evidently the nymphs of this species do not commonly occur in cold water temperatures.
Adults of this species have been collected swarming from two to three feet over riffles of rivers during early morning or evening direct sunlight. They have been collected during July and August.
Distribution: Epeorus albertae is a boreal western North American species previously unreported from Idaho. Edmunds and Allen (1964) report that this species is widely distributed in the inland mountains of western North America, but do not list any locality records.
Lehmkuhl,DM 1968 Observations on the life histories of four species of Epeorus in western Oregon (Ephemeroptera: Heptageniidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 44(2):129-137. PDF
McCafferty,WP; Durfee,RS; Kondratieff,BC 1993 Colorado mayflies (Ephemeroptera): an annotated inventory. Southwestern Naturalist 38 3, 252-274. PDF
Discussed as Iron albertae. Quote from page 260: "Edmunds and Musser (1960) and Ward and Berner (1980) indicated that this intermountain West species tends to replace other Iron species as waters become somewhat warmer at lower elevations."
McCafferty,WP and Provonsha, AV The Mayflies of North AmericaSpecies List (Version 8Feb2011)
Here is the geographic range and synonyms:
Epeorus albertae (McDunnough), 1924 [CAN:NE,NW;USA:FN,NW,SW]
* Iron albertae McDunnough, 1924 (orig.)
* Iron youngi Traver, 1935 (syn.)
McDunnough,J 1924 New Canadian Ephemeridae with notes, II. Canadian Entomologist 56, 90-98, 113-122, 128-133.
Described as Iron albertae on pages 130 and 131 with Figure 4 on page 114.
Mihuc,TB and Minshall, GW 1995 Trophic generalists vs. trophic specialists: implications for food web dynamics in post-fire streams. Ecology, 76(8), pp.2361-2372.
Abstract: "The trophic ecology of 11 benthic macroinvertebrate taxa found in Cache Creek, Yellowstone National Park (YNP) was studied to determine if burned organic matter is an important resource and how resource utilization patterns may be altered in post-fire streams. Laboratory food quality experiments were conducted to determine the growth response of each species when grown on several resource types: burned organic matter, periphyton, unburned coarse particulate material (CPM), and unburned fine particulate material (FPM). The central hypothesis of this research was that benthic macroinvertebrates cannot use burned organic matter as a resource. A secondary hypothesis was that some benthic macroinvertebrates are facultative in trophic function, with the ability to use both allochthonous and autochthonous resources for growth. Of the 11 taxa studied, only one (Paraleptophlebia heteronea) could grow on burned organic matter as a resource, indicating that post-fire food webs probably do not exhibit major shifts in resource utilization to burned material. Two species were generalist detrivores (P. heteronea, Ameletus cooki) able to use both natural FPM and CPM resources. Two species were specialist detritivores (Oligophlebodes sigma, Ephemerella infrequens) growing only on unburned CPM resources, and two (Cinygmula mimus, Epeorus albertae) were specialist herbivores utilizing only periphyton. Five species were generalist herbivore-detritivores (Baetis bicaudatus, Drunella doddsi, D. coloradensis, D. spinifera, Zapada columbiana), exhibiting growth on both detritus and periphyton resources. Based on the experimental results, trophic generalists are common food web components in Yellowstone streams. Two of the most abundant benthic macroinvertebrates during post-fire recovery, B. bicaudatus and Z. columbiana, were trophic generalists, indicating that some generalists may be disturbance adapted. In this study, published functional feeding group classification did not indicate obligate resource utilization (growth on only one resource type) for most taxa studied. Comparison of a food web for Cache Creek based on functional feeding group classification and one based on the results of this study indicates that the inclusion of generalists in the web results in a more realistic approximation of food web relationships such as the link-species scaling law. Our results suggest that future research should include spatial and temporal aspects of resource switching and generalist resource utilization by individual lotic primary consumers."
Scherr,MA; Wooster,DE and Rao,S 2010 Effects of temperature on growth rate and behavior of Epeorus albertae (Ephemeroptera: Heptageniidae) nymphs. Environmental entomology, 39(6), pp.2017-2024. PDF
Abstract: " Anthropogenic disturbances affect temperature in river systems. Temperature potentially affects life histories of macroinvertebrates and alters behavior and biological functions. Temperature preferences and tolerance ranges for key taxa are therefore critical for understanding impacts of human-induced changes to water temperatures on river ecosystems. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of water temperature on growth rate and behavior of Epeorus albertae (McDunnough) nymphs. Nymphs were collected from the Umatilla River in eastern Oregon, and exposed to temperatures of 18, 22, and 28°C. Nymphs held at 28°C exhibited increased growth rates compared with individuals held at 18 and 22°C. However, at 28°C the accumulation of nymphal tissues was not consistent with that of nymphs held in lower temperatures; ratios of head capsule width to total body length were significantly lower in individuals at 28°C compared with those held at the lower temperatures. This indicates that the nymphs held at the high temperature had longer total body length relative to the developmental stage, represented by head capsule width, when compared with insects in cooler temperatures. To examine the effect of water temperature on behavior, active drift of mayflies was examined in experimental chambers held at 12, 18, 22, and 28°C. The number of drifting insects observed was significantly higher at 28°C compared with 22, 18, and 12°C. These results indicate that temperature is a factor influencing growth and behavior of E. albertae and is likely to lead to limitations in habitat use of this mayfly."
Ward,JV and Berner,L 1980 Abundance and altitudinal distribution of Ephemeroptera in a Rocky Mountain stream. In: Advances in Ephemeroptera Biology. Eds: Flannagan,JF; Marshall,KE Plenum, New York, 169-186.