Found on a blade of grass on a cool morning, within a few feet of a pristine creek in a Redwood/Douglas Fir forest on the coast-side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
I know very little about Plecoptera, but figured I'd try to learn what I could and make an initial stab at a working hypothesis for the ID here. Working from Borror & DeLong got me thinking this may be in the family Nemouridae, based on the second tarsal segment being much shorter than the basal and apical segments (only visible in the full-size image), the wings held flat at rest, no long cerci visible, and the presence of the distinctive apical cross-vein ("apc" in the wing diagram of Fig. 20-7D of Borror & Delong(1)
). Using the simple pictorial key from a 2005 NABS Plecoptera Workshop (on pg. 24 of the PDF here
) reinforced the tentative family ID of Nemouridae.
As this photo was taken in early January, I'm presuming this stonefly emerged in the winter...possibly late fall, but I'd guess these adults aren't very long-lived (and I wonder if they even feed in the adult stage?). A BugGuide comment by R. Rohrbeck here
led me to speculate this may be in the genus Malenka
, and that was reinforced by info from pg. 14 of the 1975 revision of Nemouridae by Baumann (PDF here
) stating that Malenka
is found near small creeks and "usually emerges in the late summer or fall, while most other nemourid species emerge in the early spring". Perusing the distribution maps for nemourid taxa here
led to only one species recorded from anywhere near Santa Cruz Co., CA...namely, Malenka depressa
, shown as occuring in adjacent San Mateo Co.
So there's my tentative/speculative suggestions. I'd love to hear what folks knowledgeable in this group might think about the possibilities here.