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

Open-File Report 2021-1104-B
By: , and 



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.

Suggested Citation

Lyons, M.P., Nikiel, C.A., LeDee, O.E., and Boyles, R., 2023, Potential effects of climate change on Appalachian stoneflies (Remenus kirchneri, Acroneuria kosztarabi, and Tallaperla lobata): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1104–B, 41 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20211104B.

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Purpose and Scope
  • Data and Methods
  • Climate and Hydrology Context
  • Ecological Context
  • Conclusion
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Potential effects of climate change on Appalachian stoneflies (Remenus kirchneri, Acroneuria kosztarabi, and Tallaperla lobata)
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2021-1104
Chapter B
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211104B
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center
Description Report: viii, 41 p.; Data release
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Effects of climate change on fish and wildlife species in the United States
Country United States
State North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details