Drone fly larvae, commonly known as rat-railed maggots, possess one of the most amazing pieces of equipment found in any insect larva. They live in waterlogged soil or shallow water around the margin of ponds, where the water level can rise and fall all the time - especially in a wet summer like the one we are enduring now.
The long tail is the insect equivalent of a submarine snorkel, with muscles that allow it to shorten or elongate so that the tip of the tube is always level with the water surface.
At this stage in their life cycle they may not be high on aesthetic appeal but when they metamorphose they transform ...........
...............into one of these
A life that starts in stagnant mud becomes a drone fly, hovering in a sunbeam on a sunny afternoon.