nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Stonefly nymphs

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These days, I am having a great time visiting some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick. I have visited many of the bridges before, but mostly to learn about their history.  Now I am planning a project to look at the plants and animals living in or around covered bridges, so I am trying to get a feel for the subject to see what species I am likely to meet.

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Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3)

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This weekend, we visited the Benton Covered Bridge (Eel River #3) in west-central New Brunswick.  Benton is a small community on the Eel River.  The bridge, 31.9 meters long, was built in 1927.

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Benton Bridge on Eel River showing part of the community park on one side

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The Eel River is a pleasant shallow river.  When we were there, people were fishing with rod and reel.  We noticed a digger log had been installed in the river, often done as a way of encouraging the river to dig deeper pools and improve fish habitat.

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Eel River – a digger log has been installed in the river, the long line of flowing water above the center of the photo, running from 8:00 to 2:00 – the log causes the water downstream to dig a deeper pool and simulates the action of fallen trees in a natural river

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My search for wild life in and around the bridge was rewarded by the discovery of Stonefly nymphs clinging to the wooden walls of the bridge.

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Two Stonefly nymphs on the wall at the end of the bridge – the cerci are hard to see – they are a pair of extensions at the end of the abdomen, pointing upward in the photo, between the hind pair of legs – the cerci are almost as long as the insect itself

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Not particularly beautiful to me, the nymph is a life-stage on the way to the adult form.  Stoneflies (Order Plecoptera) are identified by their narrow bodies and the long pair of cerci at the end of the abdomen (cerci are long appendages on the rear abdomen of many insects).  I was never any good at insect identification when I worked in the field of water quality, so I am not certain which Family of the Order Plecoptera they belong to.

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There were Stonefly nymphs all over the bridge walls, inside and out.  I was happy to see these insects because they are an indicator of good to excellent water quality.  Anglers love to see these insects in a stream or river because it usually means good fishing.

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inside the Benton Bridge

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I nudged one of the nymphs with a pen and he did not budge a millimeter.  In spite of his inaction, I am certain he will be the hero of a future poem about life in the shelter of the covered bridge!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims   

 

Written by jane tims

June 8, 2015 at 7:23 am

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