By Megan Dressler
Residents and visitors of the river might have noticed an increase in insect life along the shore. It turns out that these bugs are a type of insect called caddisflies. Female caddisflies lay their eggs on the banks of rivers and other bodies of water. Eventually, the eggs will drift to the bottom of the river and hatch. The larvae develop in stages until they become pupae and swim to the surface, where they can fly away and continue to develop into adults. The presence of these flies, while possibly bothersome to human life, actually means something very important to the water ecosystem.
Caddisflies abandon their eggs after they lay them, but once the eggs hatch, the larvae are prey for fish that also live in the river. Pupae, as they swim to the surface, are also prey. With an increase of caddisfly populations, fish populations could also rise due to the increase in food. This could mean that the river ecosystem is a healthy one; caddisflies chose our river because it was a safe place to leave their eggs. Increased fish populations mean that the fish have found enough food and the same safe and healthy conditions that the caddisflies did. Overall, the presence of the caddisflies only leads to ecologic positives in the end. So while bugs may not be a human’s best friend, their egg-laying could mean a lot of good things about the river and the future of the organisms in it.