Warning: This post is filthy-lots of grimy hands. :)The last day of summer camp brought lots of great finds at the pond. This dragonfly nymph was about two and a half inches long. This is the nymph, or young, of a Common Green Darner dragonfly. A Common Green Darner is a nymph for a few years before it matures into an adult. Dragonfly nymphs have an amazing jaw that can shoot out double the length of their head to catch prey. You can see that here in this video.
Another great find-a Giant Water Bug. This critter is also known as a toe-biter. They can grow to to the size of a person's hand. They float in the water mimicking a dead leaf. An unsuspecting victim comes along and BAM!, the water bug grabs it with its front legs and stabs it with its needle-like stylet, injecting it with digestive enzymes. Yep, a rough way to go, even for a bug. The MALE water bug will carry eggs on its back which will eventually hatch. The eggs will cruise around on the Pop limo until they get old enough to bail, which takes about six days.
Another cool insect is the water scorpion. It is not a scorpion; it does not sting. The part on the back that looks like a stinger is actually a breathing tube. This allows the water scorpion to float under the water resembling a stick. Then it will quickly grab a hapless victim that wanders too close.
One of the kids found a tadpole thats legs were beginning to form. Some of the larger tadpoles will take up to two years to develop into a frog.
A small leech. Most people are grossed out by them because they latch on. But many do not know they are used in the medical profession to help regain circulation in severed fingers, toes and other body parts. The finger is reattached and then the leech is placed on the once severed part to force circulation into that area and prevent clotting. I am not making this up! You can read more about it here.
Hoping you get a chance to visit a pond near you and discover all the amazing creatures there!