Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Discussion of 2018 gathering

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington


Putnam County, New York, USA
August 10, 2014

Images of this individual: tag all
Maccaffertium Maccaffertium

The Double synonymy
The Double synonymy

This is one of the very situations I have been waiting for many years. It’s called a “double synonymy” and it causes serious taxonomic confusion within species concepts. In 1974 Lewis synonymized varium to rubrum, Bednarik and McCafferty 1979 synonymized rubrum to modestum. Why is that a problem. Their “NEW” description is based more on true modestum. True modestum has spiracular spot from 3-6 as per Biosystematic figure 95. So far that is not a problem. However when we see a sample that has spiracular spots on the 2-7 we can not consider it as the modestum concept according their publication. We then are obligated to view it as the nearest concepts being mediopunctatum or meririvulanum. If you look at this photo it is clearly not M mediopunctatum or meririvulanum.

So what is it ? it not; vicarium, pudicum, ithaca, pulchellum, modestum, meririvulanum, terminatum, intergrum, luteum, smithae, carlsoni, mediopunctatum, rubromaculatum, rubrum, appaloosa, bednariki, lenati, exiguum, mexicanum, wudigeum, sinclairi, or Stenonema femoratum.

so what is it ? Is it a new species cause it fits nowhere.

“Its called a lost form”. When we synonymize species and rewrite the profile and over broaden the variability of the profile we loose view of all the forms individual concepts. This is actually the reason I deal in form not species. According to all papers this sample doesn’t exist but yet here it is. In order to say it so its is correct and gets to the form, the name becomes.

(Maccaffertium modestum / rubrum / varium). If you read in the Biology of a Mayfly page 333 for Traver varium you will see this is in fact that former species. This is why my books are done by form not species. Form is species. Spieth destroyed Stenacron in 1947 with this double synonymy problem.

So technically this is a M modestum, but not according to Bednarik and McCafferty. Because this is unquestionably “varium” it must be placed under M modestum. But if we do that that causes confusion within their paper. So what do we do ?

We make a comment like this for the future, and leave it at genus leave. What a shame we can’t place it where it belongs.


Moved from Mayflies.

Hi Even,

Yes, I believe this male imago to be of genus Maccaffertium.

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.