Collecting in the White Mountains

I went on a camping/fishing trip with a good friend for part of last week.  The fishing ended up being really bad in the Black River (my friend got only one 6 inch trout and she did better than anyone else we talked to on the river) and the last day we were there it was very windy, so we spent a good part of our time in the mountains collecting aquatic insects.  Aside from one stream that was very cold and located in a very windy location, collecting was productive and pleasant – a great way to spend some time when we were unable to fish!

I’ve been to the White Mountains with my Aquatic Entomology students several times, but we have always gone in the spring.  I was excited to be able to collect during the summer during our trip last week.  Aquatic insect communities are known to vary greatly from season to season, so the insects that are available in the spring might be gone by the time summer comes around.  Alternatively, insects that are very common in summer might not be present during the spring.

We caught many of the same insects that my students and I caught a few months ago, but my friend and I did get some new things.  I was most excited about getting dixid fly larvae.  My students are expected to learn the dixids in class, but neither I nor my students have ever collected them during our field trips.  I found my dixids hanging onto the submerged portions of the grasses that were growing along the banks of the stream.  I couldn’t have been happier to find them!  It would have made the trip worth it for me even if the rest of the trip had been horrible.  My friend was most excited about the water pennies because she had heard about them from one of our professors, but hadn’t ever seen them.

Over the next few posts, I’ll write about some of the insects that we found on our trip.  The White Mountains have some really fascinating insects, so I hope you will enjoy learning more about them!

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