Pond creatures, unknown

Everything in the pond is coming along nicely. The water is finally clearing up, the plants are doing well, and wildlife -- well, it's good too. I have already mentioned the baby fish, and the toads have finally stopped calling (after what seemed like 2 months) and laid eggs, but there are other creatures living here too -- things that are harder to identify.

I was planning on pulling out this I-thought-it-was-still-alive papyrus yesterday, to replace it with a division that is actually growing. I didn't though.


You see, upon scrutinizing the obviously dead plant, I saw something really interesting:

No, not the moss that's starting to grow (or is it thick algae?)

I saw this:

Oooh. A bit creepy, aren't they? A single specimen would have been one thing, but with several like this it seems more menacing. Just like with zombies.

There's definitely something in there -- these aren't just empty skins:

I've spent a little time trying to figure out what these are, but no success yet. I'd say it's fairly obvious that they're some kind of fly, but bugguide.net doesn't help with insects at this stage of their lives.

Here's a great document to help identify various common water insects at both larval and adult stages: Identifying Aquatic Insects From Your Pond (pdf)

It didn't really help in this case though.

Some things I know they're not...

That dragonfly was buzzing around the garden yesterday. Newly emerged? I think so.

Back to the unknown creatures: I mentioned that I did not remove the dead papyrus. I really didn't want to disturb these insects, plus pulling that large pot out of the water and planting another papyrus division was going to be a lot of messy work. So instead I found a couple of small actively growing papyrus divisions that were just forming their own roots, and placed them among the dead stems. I'm hoping these will quickly root and I won't have to dig around this pot at all this summer -- it's one of the leopard frog's favorite hang-outs.

In case you're the type that does not appreciate a good insect macro shot, I'll leave you with a more soothing image of the pond:

By the way, the water is getting pretty clear again -- see the underwater Anacharis at the top and right edges of the photo?

I also have no idea what happened to the lily flower (that you didn't know about). There was a bud that was about to open, and then it was gone. Deer? Weird that they'd only eat the bud and not any of the leaves as they did last year.

This pond is one of the reasons I feel so far behind on my garden projects this year. It's so fascinating, and I see something new almost every time I study it! (I can't call it "looking" because I spend so much time just staring into the water.)

(If you know what the fly-like creatures are, please let me know!)


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sandy lawrence –   – (June 8, 2013 at 8:59 AM)  

I hope one of your readers knows what those guys are. They're new to me. I'd love to know!
Thanks for the great photos.

tarzanus –   – (June 9, 2013 at 1:42 AM)  

These seem to be some kind of mosquitoes. They are strangely different in size though! At this stage they get out of their empty larvae shell, crawl out of the water and harden enough to fly away.

Lisa  – (June 9, 2013 at 7:09 AM)  

Clearly an alien life form you have there! Weird! Nature is so interesting. And sometimes creepy!

Alan  – (June 9, 2013 at 7:19 AM)  

Tarzanus: definitely not mosquitoes, as the heads are much too large (mosquitoes have tiny heads).

danger garden  – (June 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM)  

Alan, Andrew says they're damsel flies...

Alan  – (June 10, 2013 at 6:26 AM)  

Loree: I'm pretty sure they're not damselflies. Damselfly nymphs have much longer bodies, and I've never seen white ones (usually brown). They've been at this stage for a few days too, which is much longer than I expect it takes a damselfly nymph to molt into its adult form.

Alan  – (June 10, 2013 at 8:46 AM)  

Anette: I know exactly what you mean! When I first filled my pond, it was just a day or two before I saw water striders on it. Amazing!

danger garden  – (June 10, 2013 at 10:17 AM)  

So you'll keep an eye on them at let us know what they do turn out to be right?

Alan  – (June 10, 2013 at 3:22 PM)  

I was thinking about putting one of the creatures into a jar to see what developed. I've been checking every day, but I'll probably miss any emergence. I really do want to know now!

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