Mayflies, by Malcom Knopp and Robert Cormier
Mayflies are a wonderful group of animals, abundant in nearly any habitat where water is available and attractive they are of particular importance to fly fishermen because trout eat them. Despite all their beauty it is the fact that trout eat them, or that human beings eat trout, that has caused this book to be written, and for that we should be grateful. There is no doubt that if you are even mildly interested in mayflies and or aquatic ecology then you will want a copy of this book. It is a magnificent effort, taxonomically and scientifically accurate yet easy to read and digest. The only fault I can really find with this work is that it is not really an entomology text book or treatise on mayflies in general. Therefore it is limited, to a fair degree, those mayflies which are of interest to fly fishermen, for whom it is written. This is not no denigrate the book, it contains a large amount of information well put together and I would consider myself poorer if I had not had the chance to read it, but it is as well to know its limitations. It contains no checklist to North American or anywhere else merely tables listing those species relevant to trout fishing and the identification guides go only to genus at there best.
Chapter one introduces the animal and the fundamentals of its biology from egg to adult or imago (called a spinner by fly fishermen whereas the subimago is called the dun). Chapter two contains a brief outline of the history of fly fishing and the development of fly tying, though thankfully there are no instructions on fly tying in this book. Chapters three, four, five and six the mayflies are divided into four categories dependant on the nymphs ecological preferences for more in-depth study (swimmers, burrowers, clingers and crawlers). Each group having its own chapter, and place in the fisherman's repertoire. Each chapter deals with the nymphs, subimago and imagoes of the important trout fishing species contained within it. The book also contains six appendices:- Scientific and Common Names; Mayfly Hatch Charts; Identification to Genus; Glossary; The Phonetics of Latinized Names and The Trout. Finally there are the references and three indices; general, pattern and taxonomic.
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