Sighting

Tamara Leitch 17 Apr 2017

Colourful stonefly ♀

6 votes
3 favourites
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Sighted 15 Apr 2017
Mt Erica Rd, Baw Baw VIC 3833, Australia

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Identifications

  • Tamara Leitch 17 April 2017
    Eustheniidae
    (family)
    Taxonomy: Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Plecoptera: Eustheniidae
    Tamara Leitch says

    This stonefly was observed walking across leaf litter in fairly open understorey, against which it was very well camouflaged, despite its bright colours. It appeared to be a female carrying a cluster of eggs under the tip of her abdomen. Although she had wings, they were quite stocky, so I'm not sure if she would have been able to fly. She made no attempt to fly while we were handling her. Her length head to tail was approximately 35mm. As she had been heading towards the creek about 15m away, we took her closer to the water to see what she would do. She didn't head straight for it, rather skirted along the edge of the creek towards a dark cavern in the rocks nearby.

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  • Reiner Richter 17 April 2017
    Thaumatoperla robusta
    (species)
    Taxonomy: Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Plecoptera: Eustheniidae: Thaumatoperla: robusta
    Common Names: Stonefly, Stonefly
    Reiner Richter says

    Identity (sort of) confirmed by Gunther Theischinger who added ___ "T. robusta is recorded from Mt Erica , and the Thaumatoperla species are supposed to be allopatric. Zwick's key, however, paints a different picture of the pronotum of T. robusta, and as Zwick has apparently not himself seen T. robusta from Mt Erica, I shall send him your photos, ask his opinion and let you know what he can come up with." ___ I had to look up "allopatric": occurring in separate non-overlapping geographical areas.

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Notes

  • Reiner Richter 19 April 2017
    Tagged With thaumatoperla
    Reiner Richter says

    Günther Theischinger has forwarded me an email from Peter Zwick (who I believe made the last significant work on Eustheniidae). I'm translating as best I can: ____ "For me this is T. robusta (? = Timmsi). The 3 classical species differ markedly in the coloring, structural differences I do not consider/know, I now no longer trust the pronotum width myself, with Nemoura and Neoperla 'recognized' taxa subsequently proved to be synonymous. Clarification of coloration involved the inconsistently mounted animals in Museum Victoria, which Artur Neboiss showed me; possibly also ETOH material. This included specimens from Mt Baw Baw. The areas of all Thaumatoperla populations are located in a continuous forest area, where the nocturnal animals spend the day in the vegetation. At up to 6m I could reach them in the tree-ferns with sticks. T. flaveola and T. alpina have been described from near treeless peaks - there they are easier to find."

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  • Tamara Leitch 18 April 2017
    Tagged With cool
    Tamara Leitch says

    Thanks Reiner, that's pretty interesting. I look forward to hearing whether he decides it is the same species or not because it does look a bit different to the single photo of a female T. robusta on the ALA. P.S. I remember learning about allopatry and sympatry in uni, but I would've had to look it up again too, so thanks for saving me the trouble ;)

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