By Jason Bittel
High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.
From left: meltwater lednian stonefly (Lednia tumana); a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey looks for aquatic insects in an alpine stream at Glacier National Park.
Clockwise from top: a meltwater stonefly at Glacier National Park; close-up of two meltwater lednian stoneflies; close-up of western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier)
Glacier NPS / Flickr. Western glacier stonefly: Joe Giersch / USGS
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Signs added to Glacier National Park more than a decade ago predicting that the glaciers would be gone by 2020 are being taken down and replaced, as CNN reported.
Warming temperatures have caused glaciers in Montana's iconic Glacier National Park to shrink an average of 39 percent over the past 50 years, with some glaciers losing 82 percent of their mass since 1966, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).