Biodiversity Canada Sask.
Biodiversity 2
Living Fossil??
Identification, Taxonomy papers
Environmental Laws, Canada
Species of Concern
Oldman Dam Alberta
Alberta Update 2010
Saskatchewan Update
Saskatchewan River
Aquatic Insects
Mayflies, Sask. River
Plecoptera, Sask. River
Caddisflies-Sask. Riv.
Chironomidae, Diptera, Sask. Riv.
Mosquitoes Culicidae
Oregon Winter Ponds
Oregon Rivers Intro
Willamette River
Columbia River
Missouri River
China Yangtze River
Arctic Canada, Rankin
MacKenzie River Canada
Fish- Rivers
Teaching Materials

Aquatic Insects Page   Home

About  550 species belonging to nine families are found in North America. Eight families and 49 species are known from Saskatchewan.  The following is based on a thesis by Dr. Lloyd Dosdall, which was later published as Dosdall and Lehmkuhl, 1987.

Winter stoneflies are not well known by the non-specialists- they emerge in early spring and walk around on the snow:

Dosdall, LLoyd Sask. Winter Stoneflies Blue Jay 19760001.pdf

Here is a list of Saskatchewan stoneflies, and an annoted discussion is given below:


CAPNIIDAE -Capnia coloradensis Claassen,  Capnia confusa Claassen,  Capnia gracilaria Claassen, Capnia nearctica Banks , Capnia vernalis Newport, Isocapnia crinita (Needham and Claassen),  Isocapnia missourii Bicker,  Paracapnia angulata Hanson,  Utacapnia trava (Nebeker and Gaufin)

LEUCTRIDAE -Leuctra ferruginea (Walker),  Paraleuctra vershina Gaufin and Bicker

NEMOURIDAE -Amphinemura linda (Bicker),  Malenka californica (Claassen), Nemoura rickeri Jewett, Nemura arctica Esben-Petersen , Podmosta delicatula (Claassen),  Shipsa rotunda (Claassen),  Zapada cinctipes (Banks)

TAENIOPTERYGIDAE-Oemopteryx fosketti (Bicker), Taeniopteryx nivalis (Fitch),  Taeniopteryx parvala Banks

CHLOROPERLIDAE -Haploperla brevis (Banks), Suwallia lineosa (Banks), Suwallia pallidula (Banks), Triznaka signata (Banks)

PERLIDAE -Acroneuria abnormis (Newman),  Acroneuria lycorias (Newman),  Claassenia sabulosa (Banks),  Hesperoperla pacifica (Banks),  Paragnetina media (Walker),  Perlesta placida (Hagen)

PERLODIDAE -Arcynopteryx compacta (MacLachlan), Diura bicaudata (Linnaeus),  Diura knowltoni (Frison), (Hagen),  Isogenoides elongatus (Hagen) Isogenoides frontalis (Newman) Isoperla bilineata (Say) Isoperla decolorata (Walker) Isoperla longiseta Banks Isoperla marlynia Needham and Claassen Isoperla patricia Frison Isoperla petersoni Needham and Christensen Isoperla quinquepunctata (Banks) Isoperla transmarina (Newman) Skwala americana (Klapelak)

PTERONARCYIDAE Pteronarcella badia (Hagen) Pteronarcys dorsata (Say)

(See discussion below)


Dosdall, L.M. 1992. New records of Saskatchewan stoneflies (Plecoptera) Proc. of the Entomol. Soc. of Manitoba. 48:14-31.

Dosdall, L. 1976. Saskatchewan Winter Stoneflies. Blue Jay 34:198-202.

Dosdall L.M. and D.M. Lehmkuhl. 1988. The nymph of Utacapnia trava (Nebeker and Gaufin) (Pleocptera:Capniidae) Pan-Pacific Ent. 64:353-357.

Dosdall, L.M. and D.M. Lehmkuhl. 1987. Stoneflies (Plecoptera) of the Lake Athabasca region of Northern Saskatchewan and their biogeographical affinities. Can. Ent. 119:1059-1061

Dosdall, L.M. and D.M. Lehmkuhl. 1979. Stoneflies (Plecoptera) of Saskatchewan. Queast. Ent. 15:3-116

Lehmkuhl, D.M. 1979. How to know the Aquatic Insects. Wm. C. Brown Co. Publishers. Dubuque, Iowa.

Stewart, K.W. and P.P. Harper. 1996. Chapter 14 Plecoptera. In. Merritt R.W. and K.W. Cummins. Ed. An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. 3rd Edition. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co. Dubuque, Iowa.

Plecoptera of the Saskatchewan River

        While stonefies are associated with mountains and cool streams and are not typical of  prairies,  Dosdall  (1976) (see Dosdall and Lehmkuhl 1979) found 41 species representing 29 genera in 8 Families  in Saskatchewan including the  Boreal Forest, and about two dozen species representing  all families were found in prairie rivers such as the Saskatchewan River and tributaries plus the streams of the Cypress Hills.  Five families - Pteronarcidae, Taeniopterigidae, Capniidae, Nemouridae, and Leuctridae -are detritivores and feed on organic material, while the remaining four families are  predators , often being abundant enough to regulate community structure by keeping certain prey species in check and controlling population levels (Lehmkuhl 1981)


There are two North American genera and both are found in Saskatchewan.
Pteronarcys Newman has 6 North American species and  one is found in the prairies.  Pteronarcys dorsata Say is large, from 4 to 6 cm long, and is a transcontinental detritivore found in the Saskatchewan River system as well as other streams and rivers.
Pteronarcella Banks, specifically P. badia (Hagen) is known only from boreal streams.

This family has half a dozen North American genera that are associated with clear streams.  Two genera are found in prairie flowing waters.
Taeniopterix Pictet has 8 North American species, and one,  T. nivialis  (Fitch) is found in the prairies.  It is a transcontinental detritivore about a cm long and it is found in streams entering the Saskatchewan River from the Boreal forest such as the Little Red River at Prince Albert and in the Carrot River area.

            Oemopteryx  Klapalek  members are  found in Central Europe and across North America.   O. fosketeii  (Ricker) is found in Saskatchewan and also Utah.  The type locality is the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatchewan (Clarkboro Ferry).  Adults emerge during ice break up in the spring and they can be found crawling on the ice.   They share with many mayfly species the distribution pattern of Saskatchewan/Utah (see Lachlania saskatchewanensis, Traverella albertana, Ametropus neavei, and other mayflies).


            Members of this family are typically found in cool clear and unpolluted streams.   Species are tiny, from 5-10  mm long, and are detritivores.   Four  genera are found in the general region, and three are associated with prairie flowing water..

             Capnia Pictet is large, with 59 species in North America, and 4 are found in Saskatchewan.  Two are found in the prairies, C. gracilaria Claassen in the Cypress Hills, and for  C. vernalis Newport  there are two records  from the Saskatchewan River at Saskatoon, from 1918 and 1940.  There have been no recent collections.   

            Utacapnia   Nebeker and Gaufin was formerly part of Capnia and has 10 species in North America.  U.  trava (Nebeker and Gaufin) is found in the Cypress Hills.

            Isocapnia Banks are larger Capniids, about 15 mm long. In some species males are dwarf and brachypterous.  Nymphs are sometimes “subterranean”, not seen in the surface benthos but living deep in the substrate below the river. There are 11  species in North America.  I. crinata  (Needham and Claassen) and I. missourii Richer  are  found in the Cypress Hills,


            This family was first established to include all of current Nemouridae, plus Capniidae, Leuctridae, and Teaniopterigidae as subfamilies, since they are all similar in habitat and appearance.  However, each now  has full family status.

            The current family Nemouridae is  large, with 373 species known form North America, Eurasia, and northern Africa.  Species are usually small and dark colored and are associated with northern streams.  Six genera are associated with the prairies.

            Nemoura Latreille tends to be northern in distribution, and there are 4 species in North America. In the prairies,  Nemoura richeri Jewett is found in some streams bordering the prairies, and the range extends to Alaska.

            Zapada  Ricker has 7 North American species and they are widespread in the west.  Z. cinctipes (Banks) is found in streams in the Cypress Hills.

            Amphinemoura Ris has 10 North American species and   A. linda (Ricker) may be found in streams bordering the prairies.

            Malenka (Ricker) is a common wester genus and  M. californica  (Claassen) ranges from British Columbia to California and may be found in streams bordering the prairies.

            Podmosta  Ricker  has 5 North American species and P. delicatula  (Claassen) also ranges from B.C. to California and is found in the Cypress Hills

             Shipsa Ricker is represented by  S. rotunda (Claassen) in the prairies and is abundant in the North  Saskatchewan River (Borden Bridge) .


 This family is represented in Saskatchewan by two genera but one is restricted to 
the Boreal forest ( Leuctra ferruginea (Walker).  Adults are characterized by a
small size, a dark color, and adults have wings rolled around the body.
Paraleuctra Hanson has 8 species in North America, and  P. vershina (Gaufin and Ricker) is widespread in the mountains of western North America and is found in the Cypress Hills.


 These are small to medium in size, 1-2 cm, and nymphs  are usually considered to be carnivorous although there are some reports that they are herbivorous. There are 10 genera and about 56 species in North America.  Two genera are associated with the prairies.

            Hastaperla Ricker has 3 North American species  and one,  H. brevis  (Banks), a small species usually less than 1 cm in length,  is widespread in eastern North America and  is found in boreal streams and in the Saskatchewan River. 

            Suwalia Ricker is represented by S. lineosa (Banks) which is found in streams in the Cypress Hills.


 These are large predators, often being up to 3 cm long, and larvae have bushy gills at the lower angles of the thorax making them easy to recognize.
Claassenia   Wu has a single widespread species in North America, C. sabulosa (Banks), and it  has been found at Lemsford Ferry on the South Saskatchwan River, adding to the unique community of mayflies, stoneflies, and other found at this site. 

            Acroneuria Pictet has 17 species in North America, and two are found in the prairies.   A. abnormis (Newman) is a widespread eastern species that is found throughout the Saskatchewan River system.   A. lycorias (Newman)  is also a widespread eastern species that  is widespread in the boreal forest adjacent to the prairies.

            Hesperoperla  Banks  has a single species,  H. pacifica  (Banks), which occurs from British Columbia to California and east to South Dakota, and is also found in the Cypress Hills of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

            Perlesta Banks has two species in North America, and one,   P. placida  (Hagen) is known from the Assiniboine River and the Torch River area.


            Some of these are large predators like the Perlidae, but they lack bushy gills on the thorax.  Other species are about 10-15 mm in length, also predatory.

            Skwala Ricker has two North American species.    S.  parallela (Frison) is a western species that is found in the Cypress Hills  as well as the Boreal region.          Isogenoides Klapaleck has 9 North American species and two are known from the prairies.   I. colubrinus (Hagen)  is known from Alaska to Utah and is widespread in the Saskatchewan River system.  Isogenoides  frontalis (Newman) is more northern, mostly in  the Boreal Forest.

            Isoperla Banks species are  important in the ecology of the Saskatchewan river system, being very abundant at times and the predatory behaviour regulating populations of some herbivorous mayflies.  Removal of Isoperla spp. in the past with blackfly treatment by Methoxychlor caused large shifts in community structure (Lehmkuhl 1981).  Methoxychlor is no longer useed.   I. bilineata (Say) and I. longiseta  Banks are most common and abundant..   I. marlynia  Needham and Claassen is found in the Carrot River area and the southern Boreal. I.  transmarina (Newman) is common in the Boreal forest but is known from the North Saskathewan River and the Carrot River area.  I. decolorata (Walker)is known form  the North Saskatchewan River. I. patricia Frisonis found at Lemsford Ferry on the South Saskatchewan River and in the Cypress Hills.