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 Across northwest North America, from Manitoba and Saskatchwan, west to British Columibia, and south to California, it may seem surprising that Saskatchewan has by far the greatest biodiversity of Ephemeroptera at the higher taxonomic levels, with 18 Families and 54 Genera. Saskatchewan also has more species of Mayflies (109)  than any other western  Canadian Province. The fine works by McCafferty and co authors make tghe follwoing possible.

Saskatchewan has  great biodiversity in some groups, for example, in Ephemeroptera, or Mayflies living in rivers, lakes, and the Boreal Forest.  The Saskatchewan River and other areas are under under great threat and  are not protected by standard and publicly available monitoring by the Federal nor Provincial Governments.    In practice, the ecological systems are  unprotected by laws  , see  also ) ( and, compare with this and  this).  Mayflies  are  sensitive indicators of environmental pollution and ecosystem health, and  also they are active members of ecological communities, involved in the function of ecosystems such as food webs and processing of organic materials. Thus they have both practical and intrinsic value, and deserve to exist in the natural environment of an enlightened society.

This page will review not only the river, but the entire Province of Saskatchewan in comparison with the rest of Canada and various States of the US.

List sources-McCafferty and Randolph, Meyer and McCafferty, this site, and www.esg.montana.edu/aim/ephem/ephem0.html See more sources below.

Sask Canada Biodiversity web page lists[1].pdf


See Ephemeroptra, this site, for a Saskatchewan list.

1.  Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada

(see McCafferty and Randolph for Ontario and Quebec. To find this reference and hundreds of others, see http://www.famu.org/mayfly/mfbib.php)

Saskatchewan has 18 Families and 54 Genera of Mayflies, more Families and Genera than any other province in Canada.  Closest to this number are the large eastern provinces, Ontario and Quebec, with 17/16 Families and 47/46 Genera respectively.  Directly east and west of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Alberta have15 Families and 39/38 Genera.  In the far west, British Columbia has only 10 Families and 31 Genera.

Saskatchewan has 109 species. more than any other Provinces except, again, the large eastern Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, with 165 species each.  The  larger number of species in Ontario and Quebec is  made up of about 20 extra species of Ephemerellidae, about 8  Ephemeridae, about 10 extra Stenonema/Stenacron,  and a few extra Leptophlebiidae.  All Ontario/Quebec Families but Potamanthidae and Neoephemeridae are found in Saskatchewan, and only about half a dozen Ontario/Quebec Genera are missing from Saskatchewan (e.g. Habrophlebia, Habrophlebiodes, Litobrancha, Anthopotamus, Pentagenia). Conversely, Ontario/Quebec lack many Saskatchwan taxa, for example, Acanthametropodidae, Ametropodidae, Oligoneuriidae, and species in the genera Macdunnoa, Traverella, Raptoheptaqgenia, and Acanthamola, and others. 


See McCafferty and Randolf (1998) for details. To find this reference and hundreds of others, see http://www.famu.org/mayfly/mfbib.php

To find more information on mayflies , see http://www.entm.purdue.edu/mayfly/


2.  Looking East,  bordering Manitoba compared with Saskatchwan

see page 1, pdf above

McCafferty and Randolf (above) list 15 Families, 39 genera, and 93 species from Manitoba.  We have listed from Saskatchean 18 Families, 54  Genera, and  109 species.

About 55 Manitoba species are  found also in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan adds to the Manitoba list  the following 4  Families and 10 Genera:  Acanthametropodidae (Analetris), Arthropleidae (Arthroplea) Ametropodidae (Ametropus), Oligoneuriidae (Lachlania), genera Acanthamola, Anepeorus,Camelobaetidius, Macdunnoa, Choroterpes, and Traverella, plus numerous geneara and species scattered in the Families Baetidae, Caenidae, Ephemerellidae, and Heptageniidae.

The high diversity at the Genus and Family level in Saskatchewan is because the Saskatchewan River signature species (many listed above) are lacking in Manitoba.  On the plus side for Manitoba, Tortopus (Polymitarcidae) and Anthopotomus (Potamanthidae) are found in Manitoba but not in Saskatchewan, as are a few Baetid and Heptageniid species.


3.  Looking south, bordering Montana, compared to Saskatchwan

see page 2, pdf above

Montana List    www.esg.montana.edu/aim/ephem/ephem0.html and again, see Saskatchewan list, this site.

Montana is a long state from east to west, bordering on the south more than 2/3 of Saskatchewan, all of Alberta, and part of British Columbia

The above link lists, with some ?? marks,  17 Families, 53 genera, and 92 species from Montana.  We have listed from Saskatchean 18 Families, 54  Genera, and  109 species.

Arthropleidae (Arthroplea)  is the extra family for Saskatchewan.  The Genera of Monana and Saskatchewan match almost completely, except that a number of Ephemerillidae genera are found in Montana only, and a number of Baetidae genera are found in Saskatchewan only, leading to the nearly matching 54/53 totals for genera.

The upper Missouri system of the eastern flatlands  of  Montana has almost all the signature big river taxa that are found in the Saskatchewan system (Analetris, Ametropus, Baetisca, Ephemera, Hexagenia, Isonychia, Choroterpes, Traverella, Lachlania,Ephoron, Pseudiron, Macdunnoa, Camelobaetidius). Hopefully with the strict protection processes found in Montana these taxa will be protected and survive if they are eliminated from the Saskatchewan and Alberta rivers by proposed dams and current pollution.

Going from Saskatchewan toward the rivers of eastern Montana, everything will be familiar, with at least 49 species being shared by Montana and Saskatchewan. See information  on the Missouri system, this site. However, the other 50 plus species found in the two are different- Montana has a large number of "mountain" species and genera, in the Family Ephmerellidae, in the genus Ameletus, and numerous Heptageniidae (especially Cinygmula, Epeorus, Rhithrogena)- species that are not found in Saskatchewan.  However, Saskatchewan has Boreal and eastern taxa, especially in Baetidae and  "eastern" Stenonema/Heptagenia, for example.  Montana lacks anything resembling the extensive Boreal Spruce/Pine/Aspen forests of the flat lowlands of Saskatchewan, and of course Saskatchewan lacks the high mountain habitats that are rich in species.


4.  Looking west, bordering Alberta compared with Saskatchewan

see page 3, pdf above

McCafferty and Randolf (above) list 15 Families, 38 genera, and 92 species from Alberta .  We have listed from Saskatchean 18 Families, 54  Genera, and  109 species.

The lower numbers from Alberta are probably because of inadequate study, especially of the Oldman, Bow, and Red Deer tributaries of the South Saskatchewan River, and inadequate attention to the Boreal Forest.  The western  mountains have received much attention and are the type locality for many species (Edmunds 1962, numerous papers by J. McDunnough, see see http://www.famu.org/mayfly/mfbib.php). While the river taxa  Ephoron and Lachlania are not listed for Alberta, they are found within a few miles of the Alberta border at Lemsford Ferry, Saskatchewan. While about two dozen species of Baetidae and a dozen Heptageniidae are found in Saskatchewan but not in Alberta, this is probably largely because of inadequate study.  On the plus side for Alberta, more than two dozen species in  the genus Ameletus and the family Heptageniidae, taxa considered to be "western"  or mountain, are found in Alberta.  It is possible that the signature Saskatchewan River species have been exterminated in Alberta (see Alberta Update and Old Man River). But if they have not been exterminated, and if the river and boreal species are discovered in Alberta, plus given the several dozen mountain species found in Alberta but not Saskatchewan, it is reasonable to expect that with more field work, Alberta will have the highest diversity of mayflies in Canada, and this would be at all levels, Families, Genera, and number of species. 

All familes and all but two genera (in Ephemerellidae) found in Alberta are also found in Saskatchean. About 50  species are shared by both provinces. About 50 species considered to be mountain forms are found in Alberta but not Saskatchean (many Ameletus, some Baetidae, some Ephemerellidae, some Cinygmula, Epeorus, and Rhithrogena, some Paraleptophlebia).  On the other hand, , Saskatchewan has about two dozen Baetidae, a dozen Heptageniidae, half a dozen Ephemerellidae, some of which may be "eastern", and possibly will never be found in Alberta. 

Alberta seems to be especially  attractive for further field work.


5. Looking to British Columbia on the west coast of Canada, compared to Saskatchewan and Alberta:

see pages 3,4 and 5, pdf above

Among the Provinces and States considered in this website, British Columbia has the lowest biodiversity at the Family and Genus level.  While the stereotype of B.C. is that it is the mild wilderness of Canada, with cool rain forests, a huge land area, and diverse terraine,  this concept does not extend to river biodiversity.

McCafferty and Randolf (above) list 10 Families, 31 genera, and 92 species from British Columbia.  We have listed from Saskatchean 18 Families, 54  Genera, and  109 species.

British Columbia lacks the  big river habitat and ecological systems of the interior, - the numerous impressive rivers of B.C are not an ecological substitue,  and B. C. thus lacks all the signature Families and Genera found in Saskatchewan, Montana, and probably Alberta and in the Saskatchewan-Missouri Rivers.  Lacking in B. C. are 8 Families and included genera: Acanthametropodidae (Analetris), Ametropodidae (Ametropus), Baetiscidae (Baetisca), Isonychiidae (Isonychia) Oligoneuriidae (Lachlania), Polymitarcyidae (Ephoron), and Pseudironidae (Pseudiron), and a number of taxa scattered in various Families such as Camelobaetidius, Raptoheptagenia, Macdunnoa, Anepeorus, and Acanthamola. Also lacking in B. C. is Arthropleidae (Arthroplea).

B.C and Saskatchewan share about 29 species, including the widespread Baetis tricaudatus, Baetis bicaudatus, Caenis amica, Ephemerella inermis, Stenonema terminatum, Ephemera simulans, Hexagenia limbata, Tricorythodes minutus, Leptophlebia nebulosa and cupida, Metretopus borealis, and a few others.

B.C. shares about 60 species with Alberta, including the above under Saskatchwan, plus numerous  "mountain" species  of Ameletus, Ephemerellidae, Heptageniidae, and Leptophlebiidae.

 While B.C. provides a diversity of mountain and coastal habitats, nothing remarkable or unique appears in the B.C. biodiversity of Mayflies.  The B.C. mayfly fauna is a reduce list of the Families, Genera, and species found in Alberta and the State of Washington, (to be considered next).


6. Looking South to the State of Washington from British Columbia

see page 6, pdf above

Meyer and McCafferty  lists12 Families, 38 genera, and 109 species from Washington.     McCafferty and Randolf (above) list 10 Families, 31 genera, and 92 species from British Columbia.  We have listed from Saskatchean 18 Families, 54  Genera, and  109 species.

British Columbia and Washing share 9 Fmailies and 28 genera.  BC has Metretopodidae (Metretopus) and Washington does not.  But Washington, with the big river habitat of the Columbia River, has river signature taxa, including Ametropodidae (Ametropus), Baetiscidae (Baetisca), and Polymitarcidae (Ephoron), not found in BC. Note that many of the Washington records are based on historical collections, and my recent field work indicates that many signature big river species have been exterminated from Washington by the almost complete damming of the Columbia River.

Washington and BC share about 68 species.  BC is rich in the mountain groups:  Ameletus (13 spp), Ephemerellidae (7 genera, 17 spp.), Heptageniidae (8 genera, 25 spp.), and Paraleptophlebia (9 spp.).  BC is similar to Washington, minus the big river taxa, now probably exterminated in Washington.  Other additional spp in Washington are scattered, for example has 22 compard to 17 species of Ephemerellidae and 27 compared to 25 spp of Heptageniidae, thus making up the 109 compared to 92 species in Washington and BC, respectively.

It would be interesting to know how many of the Washington species should be removed from the list, as exterminated by dams.


7. Looking South, Oregon compared to Washington

see page 7, pdf, above

Meyer and McCafferty  lists12 Families, 38 genera, and 109 species from Washington.     They list 12 Families, 45 genera, and 142 species from Oregon. Again we have listed from Saskatchean 18 Families, 54  Genera, and  109 species.

About 101 of the 109 species from Washington that are also found in Oregon. Both have 12 Families, but Oregon has Isonychiidae (Isonychia) , lacking in Washinton, and Wasington has Baetiscidae (Baetisca), lacking in Oregon. The latter is now possibly extinct in Washington.  Oregon adds Ametropus, Baetidae genera and species, and scattered other species to the Washinton list.  Similarity exists because the states share the Columbia River, and  in Oregon the John Day River seems to be an important "big river" tributary. Thus there are are  the big river signature species, shared at least in part with the Saskatchewan/Missouri river region, taxa such as Ametrupus, Isonychia, Choroterpes, Ephoron, and Camelobaetidius.  Both states  also have large areas of high mountains, adding to the similarity of habitats and similarity in biodiversity. 


8.  South to California compared to Oregon and Saskatchewan

see page 8, pdf above

Meyer and McCafferty list 15 Families, 44 genera, and 155 species from California.  They  list 12 Families, 38 genera, and 109 species from Washington, and they list 12 Families, 45 genera, and 142 species from Oregon. Again we have listed from Saskatchean 18 Families, 54  Genera, and  109 species.

Saskatchewan has more Families and Genera than any one of the above 3 states, but the states each have equal or more species than Saskatchewan. The larger lists of species  are explained by the fact that the western states are rich in mountain species in the Families Ameletidae, Ephemerellidae, Heptageniidae, and Leptophlebiidae.  California has Potamanthidae (Anthopotomus), and Edmundsius, not found in the above States and Provinces, and Pseudironidae (Pseudiron centralis) appears once again, not seen since Montana and Saskatchwan, above.  Baetiscidae appears again in California, not seen since Washington.

California and Oregon share 110 species, 40 Genera, and 12 Families. Fourteen of the 15 Families found in California are also found in Saskatchewan, only Potamanthidae is missing from Saskatchewan.  Saskatchean has Acanthametropodidae (Analetris), Oligoneuriidae (Lachlania), Arthropleidae (Arthroplea), and genera such as Anepeorus, Raptoheptagenia, Acanthamola, Macdunnoa, and others, not found in California.

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