Thursday, March 13, 2008

There's a new bug in town

And her name is Candice the caddisfly larvae!Caddisflies are in the order Trichoptera, closely related to Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). In fact, the adults slightly resemble moths, holding their hairy wings tent-like over the body. They are most well known for the interesting, case building habits of their larvae. They live on the bottoms of fresh water streams. The larvae have three main strategies: build nets/retreats to capture food, build a portable protective case, or to be free living (though all types build a case to pupate in). Candice here is based off of a case-building caddisfly. They use a special silk to put materials together, such as rocks, twigs, and leaves. Each species uses a different type of material in a different way. An example of some cases (picture from this website)
They are also important to consider when determining the quality of water in streams. Their presense and abundance, along with insects such as mayflies and stoneflies, can help give an estimate of the health of the ecosystem.

4 comments:

Bijoutery said...

This is so cool! I used to study these when I did macroinvertebrate studies in streams way back when! They are neat little critters!

Miss Pin Productions said...

Man, your bugs are awesome! I love how you've combined your academic passion with your creative talents. Very cool indeed!

Nodin's Nest said...

Love it, bought it!

Profusion said...

I once saw on TV that somebody had captured these critters and made them walk on coloured glass bits and even on tiny diamonds, so they made their cases from that and got very pretty. I think they used the cases for jewelry later :)
P~