Course: Identifying and Recording Adult Caddisflies, Stoneflies and Mayflies

Field Studies Council

Malham Tarn, Yorkshire Dales
Friday 7th September to Monday 10th September 2018 01729 830331

Cost: From £230

Sectors: ecology

Stoneflies (Plecoptera), mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera) are three Orders of insects which are important to aquatic ecosystems. They are used as indicators of the quality of freshwater environments, provide an important food source for fish and are much valued by anglers. Caddisflies, mayflies and stoneflies are often encountered in the moth trapper’s by-catch, but mostly go unrecorded. The course aims to familiarise moth trappers, and others, with these three groups and how they can go about getting into recording them. 

The Malham Tarn NNR supports about a third of the British Caddisfly fauna and about two thirds of the British Plecoptera fauna. Participants will be shown how to collect adults in the field using a range of techniques and how to accurately identify them in the laboratory and in some cases in the field. Collecting techniques will include light trapping, sweep sampling, pootering and malaise trapping. Techniques on how best to prepare specimens for identification and how to preserve specimens and store them will be demonstrated. Identifications will be taken to species level using the most up to date keys. Juvenile specimens will be available to compare with the adults and the life histories of each Order will be discussed. Specimens of adults from areas other than Malham will also be available for identification. By the end of the course participants will: be able to differentiate between the three taxa, recognise them in the field and identify some of them to Family and species level, know how to handle live specimens in the field, know what to look for in a moth trap and have learned how to capture and record the adults in a range of situations. The course aims to encourage more people to become actively involved in recording these three taxa; which are largely under recorded in their adult stage: thereby contributing to our understanding of their ecology.

Sharon Flint has 20 years’ experience in identification of adult and juvenile aquatic insects and has taught identification and ecology to university students and professionals. She has worked on aquatic invertebrate surveys for Natural England, the RSPB and the private sector and has carried out research on the ecology of stoneflies and caddisflies. She works as an independent consultant on various projects and with a range of clients and carries out AQC work on aquatic invertebrate samples for consultancies. She is Yorkshire Naturalists Union recorder for Trichoptera. Peter Flint has over 50 years’ experience of insect identification. He has recently retired after over 40 years as curator of the collections at Lancaster University where he also taught invertebrate identification and ecology. They are both Key Partners at PBA Applied Ecology.

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