Friday, May 8, 2015

What's In That Puddle and Under That Rock?

Caddisfly case
Two days ago a friend with a keener eye than mine spotted along the trail, in a puddle, hundreds of tiny black dots with tails, swarming and swimming: Spring Peeper tadpoles, and we rejoiced at the new life and watched them. Two days later I brought my camera, and the puddles were there, but smaller. And the tadpoles were there, but lifeless. All of them.

Longing to see new life again, I walked to the stream, and at my approach all sorts of unseen creatures made splashes and fled, and in the water I hoped to
These were Spring Peeper tadpoles. R.I.P.
see live tadpoles, fish, or a crayfish (sign of very clean streamwater). Nothing. Then I turned over a rock and found a caddisfly larva case, built by larval caddisflies that develop in them underwater, unseen. It isn't an egg case; they hatch from a mass of gel. Caddisfly larvae will take gravel, crumbs of wood, beads, any material, to glue together a cylindrical case, glued to rock, where they pupate for 2 to 3 weeks. Caddisflies are also indicators of a healthy stream. I returned the rock to its original position.

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