A week ago we introduced you to our new pet Mosquito larvae and Water Fleas. Since then the larvae have been growing and changing, and we’ve got some new arrivals in our pond water.
Mosquitoes go through life-cycle stages as they grow: First egg, then wriggly larvae, then a make-over pupa stage, and finally a winged adult. (Go here or here to see these stages illustrated.) Last week our Mosquitoes were all larvae. This week, the larvae have grown (some as big as a grain of rice), and some larvae have shed their skins and become curled-up pupae:
Adult Mosquitoes should be appearing soon. (Don’t worry, we won’t turn them loose in the neighborhood!)
The Water Flea jar we showed last week is doing fine — some of the eggs that were inside the Water Fleas’ bodies have even hatched. To see if there were any new creatures in our outdoor pools, we filled a new jar with water from our backyard bug pond. Sure enough, there were two new creatures — both crustaceans, related to crabs and such — along with last week’s Water Fleas.
Ostacods, also called Seed Shrimp, have legs and antenna, but they’re mostly covered by their clam-shaped shells. Copepods are streamlined, with antennae, legs, and a tail-like structure. Many also carry twin egg sacs beside the tail this time of year. As we discussed last week, Water Fleas have large antennae, used as oars:
We’ll be dipping into our outdoor water every week from now through fall. We’ll post updates as we find new creatures.
Of course, if you’re inadventantly raising mosquitos in your backyard pool or birdbath, now’s the time to do something about it. If you don’t want to keep them as pets in a covered jar, it’s best to dump them on the ground (as food for ants) and start over with new water.
In mid June we added a new pond water pet: A Water Scorpion. We feed it our remaining pet Mosquito larvae. Go here to read about it.