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a still from a video of a Caddis fly larva showing its coat made of shlees and other river debris

What’s In the Water? Hopefully a Caddis Fly Larva

The Incredible Caddis Fly larva

A Video of Caddis fly larva

This creature is in the aquatic phase of its lifecycle, it will feed on the river’s bottom until it leaves the water to become the Caddis fly. Caddis flies are closely related to moths and butterflies. Its latin name means bristly wings. Caddis is believed to come from the 15th century word for silk. Like moths and butterflies, this creature creates a silk thread which it wraps around its soft body and it augments this coat by weaving into it found objects from the riverbed, creating a protective armour casing, the objects might include fragments of bone, gravel, shells, bitten off twigs and leaves and other objects. The larva feed on algae and leaf matter available in the water, the adults live a short life and eat nothing.

Caddis fly are excellent bio- indicators as they are very sensitive to water health and they are large enough to be observed with the naked eye.

A photograph of a caddis fly larva wearing pearls
Hubert Duprat’s image of Caddis fly larvae he kept to create coats of precious jewels

The artist Hubert Duprat kept Caddis fly larva in an environment with pearls, gold, turqouise, lapis lazuli, saphires, pearls, rubies and diamonds and watched and documented them as they created cloaks of precious stones, see more about this project here and a video where the artist speaks about the project here