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Family Overview
This family includes roughly 152 North American species. The larvae of this family are usually found in lotic-erosional or lotic-depositional habitats. They tend to be clingers and strong swimmers due to their streamlined, minnow-like body shape. They feed by collecting and gathering food, or by scraping algae and periphyton from rocks and detritus. Adults tend to swarm nearby in open areas after emergence. Duns and spinners of this group are frequently used as models for tied flies in the fly-fishing community. Larvae in this group can be tricky to identify and can be easily mistaken for other families such as the Siphlonuridae and Isonychiidae; however, but with careful attention to detail and patience, they can be separated.
Characteristics
POLLUTION TOLERANCE
Mid-Atlantic: 2 - 9
Upper Midwest: 2 - 9
Midwest: 1.7 - 5.6
Southeast: 1.8 - 9.3
0 = least tolerant, 10 = most tolerant
FEEDING HABITS
Collector / Gatherer
Scraper / Grazer
MOVEMENT
Clinger
Swimmer
Diagnostic Characters
+ Expanded Character List
Order: Wings developing in wing pads. Mouthparts suitable for chewing. Gills present on tops and sides of abdomen. Segmented legs present. One tarsal claw per leg. Usually with 3 tails (sometimes 2).
Family: Labrum usually with median notch and antennae usually long (at least two or three times the width of the head). If median notch absent, then antennae long; if antennae shorter, then distal margin of the labrum always notched. Claws of all legs similarly shaped, usually pointed, rarely broad at the apex; claws of varying lengths, if claws of middle and hind legs long and slender, they are usually shorter than tibiae, except for few rare genera. Abdominal gills roughly oval or heart-shaped. Gill lamellae either single, double, or triple folded; rarely with fringe on inner margins, never with terminal filaments or pointed ends. Mature larvae 3-12 mm long.