Friday, September 6, 2013

A Black Caddis fly

We paid a short visit to Edinburgh this week and while we were there spotted this unusual black caddis on a bridge parapet at Stockbridge, over the Water of Leith. I think it is probably the longhorn caddis, Mystacides nigra.

It was smartly turned out in black livery (with just a hint of blue iridescence) and with eyes like garnets, but the most eyecatching features were those long white antennae - not just because of their size.....

.... but because of the way in which it waved them around, alternately waving each backwards then forwards.

Caddis flies, which belong to the insect order Trichoptera, are remarkable, both in the aquatic stage of their life cycle when most live inside tubes that they make from plant material or small stones, and when they are adults. You can see another example by clicking here and can read more about their biology here and here.

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