Potential Effects of Climate Change on Appalachian Stoneflies (Remenus kirchneri, Acroneuria kosztarabi, and Tallaperla lobata)

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Plecoptera (stoneflies) are an order of insects where most species rely on clean, fast-moving freshwater for an aquatic larval stage followed by a short terrestrial adult stage. Most species of Plecoptera seem to be restricted to specific stream types and thermal regimes. Climate-driven changes are likely to alter stream temperatures and flow, resulting in physiological stress, reduced reproductive success, and possibly latitudinal or elevational distribution shifts. This report focuses on climate projections and the resulting ecological effect for three species of Appalachian stoneflies: Remenus kirchneri, Acroneuria kosztarabi, and Tallaperla lobata. Although species-specific information is sparse for these three species, climate studies for other Plecoptera spp. are applicable. In the focal region, temperature is increasing and likely leading to increased stream temperatures. In response, Plecoptera spp. will likely experience physiological stress from increasing metabolic rates and energy demands concurrent with changing food quality and access. Warming temperatures and decreased larval energy stores are likely to contribute to lower adult body size and longevity, thus decreasing reproductive success. Whereas projected changes to precipitation and runoff are less certain, under drier future climate projections, decreased streamflow may further stress larval Plecoptera. Remenus kirchneri, A. kosztarabi, and T. lobata will likely retain stable permanent stream habitats for the analyzed future (2006–99). Changing climate is of particular concern for mountaintop species R. kirchneri and T. lobata because they may be unable to track shifts in suitable climate and habitat.




Lyons, M. P., Nikiel, C. A., Ledee, O. E., & Boyles, R. (2023). Potential Effects of Climate Change on Appalachian Stoneflies (Remenus kirchneri, Acroneuria kosztarabi, and Tallaperla lobata). US Geological Survey Open-File Report, 2023. https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211104B

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