Burrowing mayfly nymphs (Hexagenia spp.) were sampled monthly, September through October 1995 and April through August 1996, with a standard Ponar grab (538 cm2 jaw opening) at 16 stations in U.S. waters of Lake St. Clair. Annual production (production, P) was 0 to 477 mg dry weight/m2 at three stations where pollution and sediment grain-size distribution limited the population, and was 738 to 5,255 mg dry weight/m2 at the other 13 stations. The highest production value measured for Hexagenia in Lake St. Clair was about three times higher than the highest value reported for other areas in the northern United States and Canada (39° to 53° North latitude). The production-mean annual biomass (biomass, B) ratio (P/B) for Hexagenia in Lake St. Clair in 1995–96 was described by the straight line P = 2.4 B (R2 = 0.94). Adding published P/B data for other North American populations changed the relation only slightly to P = 2.5B (R2 = 0.96). A P/B ratio of 2.5 is consistent with the expected value for an aquatic insect with a 2-year life cycle and overlapping cohorts, and these data suggest this relation has general applicability for estimating production of Hexagenia in the northern United States and Canada. Size-class and seasonal partitioning of Hexagenia biomass and production were evident in the data. Both biomass and production were highest among nymphs 16.0 mm and larger, and biomass was highest in October and again in June, immediately before the annual emergence of subimagos. The large size of the mature nymphs and the concentration of biomass and production among the larger nymphs in the population is consistent with their importance in the diets of many fishes in the northern United States and Canada.
Additional publication details
Annual production of burrowing mayfly nymphs (Hexagenia spp.) in U.S. waters of Lake St. Clair