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The Mayfly Newsletter

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The Mayfly Newsletter

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Crabwalkers and sand minnows: Searching for psammophilic mayflies in the central and western states (& provinces)1

Greg Courtney Department of Entomology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA

Motivated by a number of collaborative photography projects with Steve Marshall (e.g., Courtney & Marshall, 2019), I have devoted a bit of time recently to searching for non-dipteran aquatic insects. Among the ongoing projects is a book on which I am not only lead author but in charge of several chapters focused on taxa outside my usual bailiwick (e.g., Ephemeroptera!). Thankfully, Steve has already established an excellent template for such a book (Marshall 2006: “Insects. Their Natural History & Diversity”, which was recently (2017) published as a 2nd edition). His “Flies” (Marshall 2012) and “Beetles” (Marshall 2018) books are other outstanding contributions focused on specific taxa. So, using Steve’s “Insects” book as a template, we have started working on a book on aquatic insects. We have a number of goals, with perhaps the most daunting being inclusion of images of live exemplars of ALL families of aquatic insects GLOBALLY. Because of this goal, I decided that a good starting point for the Ephemeroptera chapter was to see which North American families I still hadn’t photographed. In developing this list, it was obvious that most “missing” families (e.g., Acanthametropodidae, Ametrepodidae, Behningiidae, Pseudironidae) occur in shifting sand, a habitat I had rarely sampled. In fact, the only of these psammophilic (literally “sand-loving”) families I’d ever even seen was Behningiidae, but I had seen these bizarre mayflies only in Thailand, and had never photographed a live nymph!

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