Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Fishfly

Last week's mystery critter is the summer fishfly, Chauliodes pectinicornis, neither a fish or a fly.  Flies are in the order Diptera while fishflies are Megaloptera.  You probably all ready guessed that they aren't fish either.

They fly for around a week looking for the opposite sex and eating little if anything except possibly plant juices.  They lay their eggs near still water and the larvae crawl in an spend a year, possibly more there.  They are carnivores, eating tadpoles, minnows and aquatic insects as well as detritus.  Finally they crawl up on land and find rotten wood to pupate in, emerging in 10 days as adults to start the cycle again.

There are several species of fishflies in the Chauliodesgenus.  This one has prominent pectinate (comb-like) antennae between its eyes.  Notice the delicate mandibles in front of its mouth.

I am calling this a summer fishfly C. pectinicornis, rather than a spring fishfly C. rastricornis based on the Bugguide description.   
"Head and pronotum have yellow markings on dark brown background, compared to dark markings on yellowish background in C. rastricornis"
Fishflies are sensitive to pollution so finding them around Bull Creek is another indicator of stream health.  Although the creek levels are down, there are still a few shallow holes and well as ponds for them to inhabit.

The Bugguide reference has information on rearing fishflies, but I think I will just "leave a light in the window" for mine.
"I bee a fly"
Coming soon, another unknown.  This one "be a fly," a real fly for a change.  It helps maintain your house, kind of a flying home owners policy against a destructive force of nature.  It may fly slow but it does good work.

No comments:

Post a Comment