What You Can See on April 25
Submitted by Ted Williams on Tue, 04/25/2006 - 07:07.
From Audubon’s Earth Almanac by Ted Williams and compiled in “Wild Moments,” edited by Connie Isbell, Illustrations by John Burgoyne, Storey Publishing, 174 pages. Water Moths Part of the twilight magic of streams and ponds are caddis flies, mothlike insects that emerge from daylight retreats to hover and dip or skate over the surface, sometimes vanishing into silver craters made by rising trout. Throughout North America, 1,400 known species representing 26 families come in a variety of dimensions and colors—from the size of gnats to the size of dragonflies, and in most every shade of brown, yellow, and green. Spring is the best time for watching both adults and larvae. Get to the water when there’s still plenty of light, then study the bottom. Eventually, you’ll see little “sticks” and “pebbles” moving over logs and stones. Pick them up and you’ll find they are aquatic “caterpillars” that have encased themselves in sand or bits of wood, shell, or other detritus. They feed on algae or carrion. A few forms don’t build protective cases but hunt prey or catch it in tunnels or webs they weave with silk.