Bug Blog #10: Caddisfly: Flies in Fashion

Date: May 21, 2017 Author: EcoSpark Categories: Latest

Welcome back to our tenth and final edition of Bug Blogs, celebrating Science Odyssey by showcasing benthic macroinvertebrates (bugs!) that we often find during our local stream studies program, Changing Currents.

If you have been following this Bug Blog series, you know that some fly species live at the bottom on water bodies in their larval stage. In this final edition of the Bug Blog series and final day of Science Odyssey, we will take a look at another one of these flies, the caddisfly!

Where Are They Found?

Caddisflies can be identified by their three pairs of legs and plates near the top of their body and soft lower body. You can see a video of a crawling caddisfly below!

Caddisflies are most abundant in cool waters with a steady flow, but because each species of caddisfly greatly varies in their tolerance to pollution, they can be found in a range of habitats. We encounter caddisflies in many of the studies we conduct through the Changing Currents program, sometimes in cocoon-like shelters that they’ve created for themselves!

Flies in Fashion

Like butterflies and moths, caddisflies can make shelters using the silk they produce but also the materials that they find in their surroundings. We always tell students in our Changing Currents programs to look for moving sticks in the water when we’re identifying our benthic samples because it could be a Caddisfly! Some artists and jewelry makers have taken advantage of the caddisfly’s inclination towards making shelters out of whatever material is surrounding them. By putting caddisflies in environments of gold, beads and other art materials, people have used these creatures to make unique pieces jewelry and art to be worn and displayed! A video of this process can be seen below.

We hope you have enjoyed this Bug Blog series in celebration of Science Odyssey, a ten-day campaign celebrating Canadian achievements in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). You can learn more about benthics at our Changing Currents website. Be sure to check out your local events at Science Odyssey next year!

EcoSpark's Bug Blogs would not be possible without the support from our generous sponsor, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience Program.