Tule Ponds at Tyson


These are one of the largest group of flies.  The larvae tend to be oblong, cylindrical and somewhat tapered toward the head.  The head is retractable and only partially hardened. 

Order  Trichoptera

All caddisflies have hard-shelled head capsules.  Sometimes the first three segments behind the head also have hard-shelled plates on the top surface above the attachments for three pair of legs.  The rest of the body is soft and often cylindrical.  The larvae possess two small hooks on the last segment. Some species are free-living while others make case retreats out of silk, sand grains, pebbles, or bits of plant material. 

Caddisflies undergo complete metamorphosis and the larvae transform into winged adults in the water.  As adults, caddisflies only live a few days and do not eat at all.several finger-like lobes.

Order  Plecoptera

Stoneflies are indicators of good water quality because the nymphs require highly oxygenated water.  They tend to inhabit clear cold streams, and are highly intolerant of changes in water quality. 

Stoneflies undergo incomplete metamorphosis.  The aquatic nymphs transform directly into winged adults.  The heads and top surface of the first three body segments on nymphs are hardened.  Their antennae are moderately long to long, and all species have exactly two tail filaments.

Stonefly nymphs have gills around the base of their legs or no gills at all.

Order Ephemeroptera

Mayflies are usually easy to identify.  The  nymphs can be small and squat, or long and slender.  They have three pairs of segmented legs and visible antennae.  They are most easily identified by their three tail filaments (although they may have 2), and by the seven pairs of abdominal gills found on most species.  The gills may be either flat and spade shaped, or feathery in appearance.

Mayfly nymphs are often flattened or streamlined to reduce the force of fast currents.  They are most abundant in clear streams, though a few kinds may be found in other habitats.

Order Diptera

True flies lack jointed legs.  Some have complete, exposed head capsules; others have a reduced retracted head.  The bodies are soft and flexible.

Order Coleoptera

Largest order of insects representing about 40% of known insect species.  About 1000 of the approximately 30,000 species are aquatic.  All beetles go through complete metamorphism.

Order Odontata

Dragonflies and damselflies are predators, easting anything they can catch including other odontates. . The order name is derived from Greek word tooth, which refers to the toothed apparatus.  Their nymphs are abundant  on the bottom of slow moving waters.  They may be elongated and are a somber gray, green, or brown color.  The adults have two parts of winds of equal length with large compound eyes, and reduced antennae.  They have 10 segmented abdomen.  The dragonflies are robust, and perch with wings spread.  Damselflies have a long slender abdomen and wings are usually flat when perched.

DRAGONFLIES (Anisoptera)

Dragonflies are fast moving insects that are predators. Dragonflies spread their wings when they perch.  Dragonflies spend the first four years of their lives as nymphs underwater and emerge from the water shedding their skin to become adult, winged dragonflies for their last few months of life in which they mate and lay eggs then die.

Common Whitetail
Family Libellulidae (skimmers)
Plathemis lydia

The male whitetail  has a distinct white, pruinescent abdomen.  Its wings have broad, black band on the middle of each wing.  The female  has a wing pattern with three dark brown to black patches on each wind, with only a white abdomen.   The length ranges from 4.25-4.75 cm with a wing span of 6.5-7.5 cm.

Big Red Skimmer
Family Libellulidae (Skimmers)
Libellula saturata

Large (52-61 mm with a body and basal half of winds with bright rust color.  Adults are common along the pond margins.

DAMSELFLIES  (Zygoptera)

Damselflies are very similar to dragonflies except they are

generally smaller and more fragile.  When they perch their wings are closed.

California Dancer
Order Odontata
Argia agrioides

The male is mainly blue on its abdomen, except for a black segment toward the rear.  The black stripe on each of the thorax is forked.  The young male is brown, and the female may be tan and black or blue and black.  Length is 3-3.5 cm with a wing span 3.5 – 4.25 cm.


Family Nymphalidae (brush-footed)
anaus plexippus


Monarchs winter along the California coast and breed in areas west of the Rockies.   This butterfly is famous for its long migrations.  In fall you can find them in several locations such as Ardenwood in Fremont where they may congregate until spring.  The sex of monarchs can only be determined by dissection.

Family Nymphalidae (brush-footed)

Junonia coenia

Their multicolored “eyespots” help to distract predators.  Wing span ranges from 3.5-5.2 cm with brown wings marked on the upper sides by a large and small eye spot on each wing.  The larva is dark with longitudinal pale yellow stripes and branching spines and feeds on plantain.

Cabbage White
Family  Pieridae  (whites and sulfurs)
Pieris rapae

A very common butterfly that was introduced from Europe in 1866.  When mature, has a pale yellow line on the back, and a line formed of yellow spots on each side. It normally sits on the upper surfaces of leaves of its food plant in broad daylight. Its coloration is presumably an effective camouflage. It grows to a length of about 3 cms.

California Dogface
Family  Pieridae  (whites and sulfurs)
Zerene eurydice

This is the California’s official state butterfly, designated in 1972/Wing span about 5.1 - 6.3 cm.  Black outer half of male forewing encloses yellow-orange "dog's head" tinged with light purple iridescence. Black "eye" very near or touching the border. Hind wing yellow-orange, sometimes with black border. Female all yellow with a black upper forewing cell spot; sometimes with scattered black scaling on outer half. Larva is dull green with a white lateral line that feeds on False Indigo (Amorpha californica).

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