The timing and spatial distribution of aquatic insect emergence is linked to the abiotic and biotic environment in streams. Studies of aquatic insect emergence are needed to generate baseline data to identify potential shifts in phenology and habitat-related emergence with global change. The purpose of this study was to 1) compare the timing of Plecoptera (stonefly) species emergence between two streams with different thermal regimes and 2) characterize the distribution of emerging Plecoptera and Trichoptera (caddisflies) from wood, rock, gravel, and sand substrates in five forested, headwater streams. Emergence timing and duration varied among Plecoptera species, with Ostrocerca albidipennis (Walker) (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) emerging only in May and four species in the genus Leuctra (Plecoptera: Leuctridae) collectively emerging throughout the summer (May to September). We observed earlier emergence of Amphinemura nigritta (Provancher) (Plecoptera: Nemouridae) and a longer total emergence period for Leuctra ferruginea (Walker) (Plecoptera: Leuctridae) in the stream with ~1.5°C warmer temperatures, which suggested that some insects may experience phenological shifts in streams with subtle differences in temperature. The abundance of plecopteran and trichopteran taxa emerging from wood was generally greater than for gravel or sand, and sand was the least preferred emergence substrate. The results suggest that human actions that decrease large wood and increase fine sedimentation may decrease habitat quality for many insect larvae and limit preferred emergence substrates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics