cold controlling her creeping,
she crawls into soil.
We enjoy relatively mild winters here in Raleigh, but that doesn't mean we have a whole lot of insect activity this time of year. I've seen only a smattering of what I would call active species since November – i.e., insects that are actually foraging or looking for mates. Observed cold-hardy hexapods include: a few moth species (Lepidoptera, especially Geometridae and Noctuidae), several saprophagous flies (Diptera, mostly Drosophilidae, Psychodidae, Trichoceridae, and other “Nematocera” and acalypterate flies I couldn't sight ID), and the few rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) I see in our kitchen “litter.” Those compost dwellers shouldn't count, though, as the temperature is quite a bit higher in the bin (more like spring!) I've also run across numerous diapausing insect species since January, mostly while tearing apart an old stump in my yard – mostly Heteroptera and Coleoptera. These guys certainly were not active, though, even after exposing them to the sun on a 50ºF day.
Yesterday I added another order to my short list of active winter species in the Raleigh area. I came across a small winter stonefly (Plecoptera: Capniidae: Allocapnia, I believe), which, of course, is always an exciting event! It slowly crawled over an old planter next to my koi pond, stopping briefly to pose for my camera before losing itself in the litter as I tried to collect it. This tiny stonefly (only about 1 cm long) was magnificent to observe.
The Museum has a small but healthy collection of Allocapnia spp. from North Carolina, including several specimens from Wake County. Most of the specimens I looked at from the Raleigh-Durham area were identified by W. E. Ricker as Allocapnia rickeri Frison, 1942 (must be exciting to determine that specimen under the 'scope as a species named after yourself!), commonly known as the midwest snowfly. I don't see any North Carolina hits in this map of A. rickeri records, though. Hopefully I'll run across more of these stoneflies soon and can actually get one into a vial for posterity. In the meantime I'd love to hear whether I'm on the right track in terms of species identity.
with aquatic imagos?