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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The California Salmon Fly as a Food Source in Northeastern California


The importance and extent of aboriginal use of insect resources in California is poorly understood. Specific data on insect utilization are uncommon in the anthropological literature, although several genera have been discussed in some detail (cf. Fenenga and Fisher 1978; Swezey 1978; Fowler and Walter 1985). The purpose of this paper is to discuss one such possible insect resource, Pteronarcys californica Newport (Plecoptera: Pteronarcidae), first noted by Aldrich (1912). This species of stonefly (not a true fly) is commonly known as the California salmon fly, or the willow fly. This stonefly may have been used as food by a number of groups in northeastern California (Fig. 1), a possibility briefly discussed by Essig (1931: 33-35, Figs. 27 and 28) and more fully explored here.

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