Oligostomis ocelligera (a phryganeid caddisfly) is reported for the first time from a degraded lotic systema first-order stream in north-central Pennsylvania that was severely impacted by acid mine drainage. Although uncommonly collected and poorly known, O. ocelligera maintained a substantial population in the mine discharge, free of competition from Plecoptera, Ephemeroptera, and other species of Trichoptera. It thrived under conditions of very low pH (2.583.13), high concentrations of sulfate (542 mg/L) and heavy metals (Fe 12 mg/L, Mn 14 mg/L, Al 16 mg/L), and a nearly uniform springbrook-like temperature regime. More than 350 larvae were collected from deposits of leaves and woody detritus in a pool 0.32 km downstream from the mine entrance over a two-year period. Measurement of head-capsule widths yielded a multimodal distribution with five peaks, corresponding to five instars, in conformity with Dyar's Law. Eighty-three egg masses were observed along the stream channel from 3 June to 12 November at a mean distance of 6.1 cm above the water surface in moist, protected locations such as under moss mats or in crevices of logs. Eggs began hatching by mid-summer, first-instar larvae were present in samples from AugustOctober, all five instars were represented in October, instars IIV were still present in December, but only instars IV and V were represented in samples collected from March to July. The extended periods of oviposition and larval recruitment, together with a remarkably protracted flight period of six months (29 April30 October), led to the conclusion that the population of O. ocelligera at the mine site exhibited an asynchronous univoltine life cycle. Measurement of the width of the anterior border of the frontoclypeal apotome confirmed Wiggins' proposal that this metric is useful for distinguishing final instar larvae of O. ocelligera from its only Nearctic congener, O. pardalis. Occupied pupal cases were found embedded in sodden logs from 8 April to 10 June. Pupae had mandibles reduced to membranous lobes. A silken mesh closing the anterior end case of the pupal case is reported for the first time in O. ocelligera, representing the third evolutionary reversal for this behavioral character in the phylogeny of phryganeid genera proposed by Wiggins. Adults exhibited only diurnal flight, and were absent from light traps deployed on five nights. Females displayed more cryptic behavior, and their wing pattern was distinctly duller in color than males.
Additional publication details
Biology of the caddisfly oligostomis ocelligera (Trichoptera: Phryganeidae) inhabiting acidic mine drainage in Pennsylvania