|A stonefly, waiting to be eaten by some cruising fish.|
Although I spent many summers in my early youth on the shores of Lake Tahoe, I never encountered the Tahoe Stonefly. Neither had anyone else in those days—not just because it’s found at depths of 200-270 feet (60-80 meters), but it wasn’t even discovered until 1963. Capnia lacustra, now endangered, is only found in Lake Tahoe. It is one of two stonefly species that lives its entire life cycle under water, collecting, shredding, and consuming algae, plant material, and detritus.
It made the endangered species list due at least in part to “cultural eutrophication,” a form of water pollution that occurs when excessive fertilizers run into lakes and rivers. This encourages the growth of algae and other plants, which cause overcrowding as plants compete for sunlight, space and oxygen.
|Stoneflies performing a little synchronized swimming.|
Endangered species international
Life in fresh water
What When How: Insects
The endemic deepwater stonefly in Lake Tahoe