Friday, 6 April 2018

The Remarkable Caddisfly And Some Pleasing Statistics





Here, today, you'd be forgiven for thinking spring has sprung. It's not warm, it's windy, but it is sunny. Pop and I have been out running this morning, a rather gentle 4.5 miles. I spent 48 hours after the 18 mile run on Tuesday wavering between eating and yawning. I don't think I've ever eaten so much in 48 hours in my life. M and I went out for a cup of tea and a slice of cake the day after the run and I ended up having a second lunch- an enormous plate of chicken and bacon sandwiches with salad and coleslaw and a bowl of chips. Three hours later, I ate dinner complete with two different puddings, and was still starving for breakfast ten hours later! The hunger and yawning resumed normal proportions at 5pm yesterday. Phew.






You may not have the expense of gym membership with running, but you make up for it in food costs! Still, my VO2 max (the rate at which you transport oxygen to your muscles via blood) has gone up to the top 20% for my age and gender since Tuesday's long run (according to my Garmin), which is rather pleasing. It also tells me the last two runs have been in an aerobic zone, so my heart is doing what it should be :o)





In other news, I'm very involved with our pond. It's that time of year. The newts are back- two boys, two girls as far as I can see, but there are probably more. Smooth newts, the commonest newt in Britain, in fine breeding regalia, all wavy crests and orange spotty tummies. They returned to the pond in March, a little later than normal, but who can blame them with all the ice and snow? And here they'll stay until June, until after they've finished mating and egg laying. Then they disappear into the garden, to sleep beneath log piles by day and emerge at night to hunt insects. You can see one of them in the pic below...



As much as I love watching the newts, it is the caddisflies who've really grabbed my attention this week. There are 12,000 recorded species of caddisfly in the world. They are freshwater insects whose adult stage is terrestrial (they frequently get confused for moths as they fly at night and look a bit moth-like). The larvae absorb my interest because of the intricate cases they construct. Caddisfly larvae are soft-bodied, like caterpillars, and very edible, so they spin a silk thread and attach whatever's to hand to it to protect themselves from predation. Some make heavy cases to help them sink to the bottom of streams where they can hunt for food without being washed downstream, which is so clever. Cases are often species-specific, and all the caddisflies in our pond use the same basic structure for their case. Here's an example I found this morning...



It's a delightful mix of duckweed, buttercup leaf and pond vegetation stalks, neatly cut to size and fixed in a pyramidal structure around the larva in the centre.



Clever, no? But what's even more amazing about these tiny larvae is that each species of caddisfly occupies a niche that is so particular none of the others share it. They are specifically adapted to fit their surroundings based on water flow, mineral and pollutant content and the amount of light the body of water receives. So our caddis are specific to our pond. They are also a great indicator of water purity, because they don't like pollution. There are lots of them in our pond, so I am spending a lot of time watching them grazing on the moss and other vegetation in the water. It's such a brilliant time of year for nature lovers.




I'll leave you with a very funny clip my lovely pal, Sally, sent me about fitbits which made me chuckle... click here

Wishing you all a Top Weekend,

CT :o)

11 comments:

  1. I'll take a couple of slices of the raspberry cheesecake, thank you. The sketch made me smile. So many flowers with you, and lovely to see the bird things all ready. I haven't really seen anyone checking out the nestbox lately, although the biggest boy said a couple of blue tits went in. Pond activity here too. Not sure why, but we had two dead newts. Fascinating about the caddisfly larvae. Wishing you a good weekend CT. CJ xx

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  2. Ha:) Yes hilarious. I am the one at the beginning :)and the second one, also........

    Love the pond info and the caddisfly is fascinating,I must go and see if I have any in the pond.

    I am not surprised you are eating and yawning. Some of you posts exhaust me and I am only reading them :)

    Have a good weekend.

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  3. Those raspberries look delicious, I'm trying not to notice the cake underneath! What artistic caddisfly larvae you have in your pond, how amazing. x

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  4. Caddisfly have a very healthy diet! Looks like a yummy premixed salad from the supermarket!
    Cake looks divine! An advantage to running 🏃🏼‍♀️ is being able to EAT and I mean EAT!
    May just take it up!!!!! 😉
    Glad you enjoyed the Fitbit clip enough to share! Made me laugh a lot!
    Spring is certainly making a comeback as we dip into the most beautiful autumn 🍂
    Off for a beach walk and coffee with J
    😘 xx

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  5. The food looks great, the flowers look beautiful. Envious!

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  6. I would really love a pond, they sound so exciting. My fountain doesn’t really cut the mustard although a toad did make its way in there once. Haven’t seen any since. I keep muttering about a pond no luck so far. Have a great weekend. B x

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  7. Many moons ago when I did my biology A level, our special topic was 'freshwater'. Caddisfly larvae are one of the few things that I can remember about it. That, and freezing my butt off in Grange Over Sands on the field trip! That cheesecake looks divine and I love the video clip ............ I'm with Shirley! xx

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  8. I'm envious of your running just now. It's going to be a slow build up for me (again!) and I've got my 10K in around eight weeks. Yikes!
    The cheesecake looks delicious. X

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  9. I am very impressed with your scientific statistics and think mine would be the opposite. I am MORE impressed with the amount of delicious food you are consuming - maybe this running lark is becoming more and more attractive to me!! Fascinating info about the caddisfly larvae. Nature is really incredible! Loved the Fitbit sketch! It's just a watch!!

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  10. Hey CT,
    I must check out my little pond to see if we have any caddis fly larvae. If we move to The Wink, there is an altogether larger pond, that is fed from an unknown source. Who knows what lurks there.
    Leanne xx

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  11. That clip made me laugh our loud. Isn't nature awfully clever xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x