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Volume 102, Issue 3-4, Pages 151-168

Ecology of Peltoperla arcuata and Tallaperla maria (Plecoptera: Peltoperlidae) at the Fernow Experimental Forest, Tucker County, West Virginia

1Department of Biological Sciences, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia 25755, USA
2USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station, Parsons, West Virginia 26287, USA

Received 9 October 1995

Copyright © 1995 Kevin A. Yokum et al.


We examined the abundance, life history, and production of the stoneflies Peltoperla arcuata and Tallaperla maria (Plecoptera: Peltoperlidae) in four forested headwater streams at the Fernow Experimental Forest, Tucker County, West Virginia. Peltoperla arcuata was most abundant in the smallest watersheds (<100 ha), and was present at all sites. Tallaperla maria was most abundant in watersheds >200 hectares (ha), was restricted to sites with a base-flow alkalinity of >2 mg L-1 CaCO3, and was the dominant peltoperlid only at sites with an alkalinity >15 mg L-1. We conclude that water chemistry overrides stream size as a determinant of species-specific distribution of Fernow peltoperlids. Both taxa had semi-voltine life cycles with an 18-month naiadal period following a 6-month egg diapause. Emergence was during May-July for both species. Peltoperla arcuata had about 15 instars; T. maria had about 14 instars. Peltoperlid production was highest (509 mg m-2 y-1) in a 128 ha watershed where only P. arcuata was collected; P. arcuata production was lowest (17 mg m-2 y-1) in a 4th order stream (1536 ha). Taltaperla maria production was highest (271 m-2 y-1) in a 257 ha watershed partially underlain by limestone. Production across streams was higher for P. arcuata (205 mg m-2y-1) than for T. maria (91 mg m-2 y-1).