Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

Update on Our Pond-water Pets May 13, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Bugs,Seasons,Spring — saltthesandbox @ 8:33 am
Tags: , , , , ,

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:

The yellow arrow point to a Mosquito pupa, the blue to one of many Mosquito larvae.

The yellow arrow points to a Mosquito pupa, the blue to one of many Mosquito larvae.

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:

The green arrow points to an Ostracod, the red arrow to a Copepod (with egg sacs), and the blue arrow to a Water Flea.

The green arrow points to an Ostracod, the red arrow to a Copepod (with egg sacs), and the blue arrow to a Water Flea. (The Water Flea is half the size of the head of a pin.)

To learn more about Ostracods, please go here. To find out more about Copepods, go here or here. To learn more about Water Fleas, go here or here.

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.


One Response to “Update on Our Pond-water Pets”

  1. Agnes Cuthbertson Says:

    I found mosquito larva in my garden in a plastic basin i hadnt used in over a year. it had stagnant rain water in it for a few months.About a week ago i noticed these creatures in the container but to be honest i thought they were tadpoles or somethin as my eyesight is poor. today my daughter looked at them and told me they were not anything like that and i tried the net to see what they are, i am shocked at what they are. my daughter took them to some wasteland not far from my house and threw them into bushes. i am worried as i have 2 cats and 2 dogs and worry they may be affected by these in any way. Any info would be appreciated.

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