Saturday, April 9, 2011


This is the larva of a Fishfly, one of my favorite aquatic insects. It’s one of those insects that are associated with clean, well oxygenated water. I see it as a sign that no one upstream has yet done anything to severely degrade the water quality of my creek. It’s also a tough creature, surviving the summertime drying of the creek by curling up in damp pockets deep beneath the creek rock.
I found these by lifting a flat rock in the creek. They are predators that prowl beneath the rocks during the day and move about the creek bed under the cover of darkness. The larva is the only aquatic form. It pupates on land and spends adulthood as a flying form.
It also has one of those shapes that a small boy cannot resist. In some parts of the country these larvae are used as fishing bait. As a child, I fished at every opportunity, but I could never bring myself to sacrifice one of these marvelous creatures to the hook. I much preferred to take them home and raise them in an aquarium.


  1. You must have been a really fun child. :)

  2. Very cool! I found an adult a few years ago. Interesting animal!

  3. The word 'hell' is in their name hellgrammite for a reason, they are evil looking creatures. I find them all the time in my seine when catching bait fish on Ohio Brush Creek. They make for excellent bait, especially bass.

  4. Ahh, Alderflies! You made me go look it up - I knew I knew the larvae, but not as a fishfly. :) I used to bring home frog & salamander eggs to hatch. GG loved it - trust me.

  5. Well, Lois, at least I always thought I was a fun kid. My parents didn't always agree.

    Hi, Janet. I very seldom see the adults. One night I'll have to take lights down to the creek and see what I can attract.

    Hi, Andrew. I've seen some of those big larvae from Ohio Brush Creek. Most of what I found were larvae of the larger Dobson Fly. No matter the species, they're a wonder.

    Hi, Renee. I'm sure she was happy to see the frogs and salamanders, but I'll bet she wouldn't have been so thrilled if you had brought home some snakes.