Skip to main content

We are a grandmother (and page visit counter added today)

A trial of the "Mayfly in the Classroom" apparatus (a very slight modification of Finlay's (2001) system developed in Australia) has produced its first offspring. A proud moment for MITC which is, itself, a child of Trout in the Town.
Back in November 2008 a basic set of equipment was assembled from very cheaply available materials (the most expensive item is the air pump at £8).
An assembly procedure that is simple enough even for the author to complete (and therefore a doddle for the schoolkids) housed 3 pairs of nymphs for 6 weeks in perfect happiness. These were released back into their native river just before Christmas 2008 and just one of their cohort retained for further work. After continuing to graze on the algae-covered pebbles in her mini-aquarium, Thursday last week heralded the point that the nymph decided it was high time for a major change of lifestyle. As a result, she emerged as the flying sub-imago (or dun). The nymphal "shuck" (or skin) left behind on the rock clearly shows the exit point of the sub-imago just behind the head (white strands and ragged edge)
The body shape that is typical of the Brook Dun (Ecdyonurus spp.) is easy to see against a white background
Even the species can be identified from the nymphal skin if you look closely at the tarsi (feet)... ...and the remains of the "negative" pattern (i.e. light dots/lines on a dark background) on the underside of the body. Together these indicate that our newly hatched sub-imago is Ecdyonurus torrentis Then, sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, the sub-imago made her final change to become the imago (or spinner) with the longer tails, legs and the shimmering gossamer wings of the mature adult.

Here is the skin of the sub-imago (dun) from the final moult:
Here is the first official offspring produced in a Trout in the Town classroom setup:

She was released and placed in the vegetation of her native stream this morning - in the hope that she may be able to make her contribution to the next generation of Brook Dun mayflies.
Soon pupils at local schools will have the chance to look after their own mayflies, compare results and observations with other schools as well as learning all about the biology of these important insects. As part of this, mayflies' importance in the foodchain (including the value to trout and birds) will be highlighted, alongside their requirement for good quality, clean rivers in which to live. Some of these pupils will go on to become the custodians of their local urban rivers.


Fantastic, really good photos too Paul.

Keep up the great work, hopefully we can get this going up in Colne in the not too distant future.

Popular posts from this blog

Why Presume to Remove Weirs? (with River Dove Case Study)

Weirs and the Backwards Ways that Rivers Work One of my favourite sayings on river restoration is a mangled quote from a movie

"...boxing is an unnatural act. Everything in boxing is backwards: sometimes the best way to deliver a punch is to step backwards...but step back too far and you ain't fighting at all".

So my mangled version starts out "Everything in rivers is backwards...". Basically, I never seem to run out of new examples of "what SEEMS to happen in a river is actually the complete opposite of what really happens".

The rest of this article looks at many of the "backwards" things about weirs and rivers - and finishes off with a real-world case-study that is playing out right now on the River Dove.

One spoiler alert is that, from an ecological point of view, it is almost always safe to assume that:

The best biological outcome for a river is the removal of some or all of an artificial weir. 
Now, I don't expect you to believe that…

First Survey Record of Wild Trout Returning to Lyme Brook Habitat Works Site!

You may have seen the first three phases of works on the middle reaches of the Lyme Brook (shown in previous blogs Here and Here) from project works that began in 2015...

Well although the first surveys after that work found some nice coarse fish populations - there was no cold hard evidence that any trout had found the newly-improved habitat...Until now!
I received a phone call today from Matt Lawrence who is the EA's Catchment Host for the Trent Valley Catchment Partnership (with key partners Groundwork West Midlands and the Wild Trout Trust who conceived and delivered the habitat works). Matt told me that he'd had some exciting preliminary reports from a EA Midlands fisheries surveys team. Their survey on 7th September had caught several wild trout as part of their sample on the habitat works site.
These are the first modern records of trout in the brook and is also the exciting news that we have been waiting for on these first phases of work to create spawning, juvenile an…

CATCH in Wincanton and News of the First Recorded Wild Brown Trout Following Their Hard Work

Blog posts are like London Buses it seems!

This one is just a very short "Congratulations" to the Folks at CATCH (Community Action to Transform the Cale Habitat) and the video put out by Wincanton Window (embedded below).

All of the folks in the partnership mentioned in the video have done HUGE amounts of work (from classroom education projects to habitat working parties and endless enthusiasm for engaging more people in their local river and much more besides).

A big disclaimer from me is that, although this project is supported by/affiliated with our Trout in the Town project - it has been Mike Blackmore who has fulfilled that role for the WTT rather than myself.

So massive well done to all involved (especially you Gary Hunt!)- it is wonderful to see all of the fish and wildlife coming back to the Cale. Of course, it is absolutely delightful to see that wild brown trout put in an appearance as well!

It seems to be all the rage for recovering urban stream projects in the &q…