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> > this video is fascinating!

The Specimen

Phryganeidae Caddisfly LarvaPhryganeidae  Caddisfly Larva View 5 PicturesThis "specimen" is actually two caddis larvae fighting each other over a case. The case is a hollow tube; one larva would go in the back end, presumably bite the other, and chase it out. The invader crawled forward into the case while the other one fled, and then it went around to the back and bit the first one. They did this several times, and I recorded it on video.
Collected March 1, 2004 from unknown in Wisconsin
Added to Troutnut.com by on January 25, 2006

The Discussion

CrenoOctober 23rd, 2011, 12:16 am
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 296
Not sure why I didn't see this before - just another hidden wonder on your site I guess. Did you notice they seem to run around the short side of the case? I suspect they should know what side is the short side is but still..... why? Energy conservation doesn't make alot of sense since if they were conserving energy it would seem they would have quit alot earlier. What happened after they stopped? Did they start over? I thought they would have tired out way before they did. Did you have a hot light on the tray? absolutely fascinating! Thanks
JesseOctober 23rd, 2011, 10:42 pm
Posts: 378
Hahah thats some funny stuff, cool!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
http://www.filingoflyfishing.com
OldredbarnOctober 24th, 2011, 2:38 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Dave,

The first time I watched it I became a bit annoyed with the obsessive nature of it. It was strange, but I just wanted them to stop already! Sort of like the "Who's on first?" routine of Abbott & Costello...

The interesting thing to me is, I think, they were completely incapable of stopping what they were doing...Whatever the trigger was, it couldn't be shut off. They may have gone on like that until one of them ran out of energy and died.

It reminds me of those salmon in the PM that they called "skunks". They are well past the spawning and have turned black with fungal white stripes on their backs...Yet they motor on. They will do so until they finally run out of gas and fall over and die.

I also watched as rather good sized fish kept heading upstream even in the smallest feeder portions of the river...They had to keep going. Period.

I have often wondered whether or not obsessive compulsive behaviour in humans wasn't something left over from a long time ago when it served us for survival somehow and it's wired deep within and to some degree or not we all are compulsives. It is just more apparent in those with traits that are noticable to the rest of us and maybe outside of the "norm".

Rising trout that become selective act in an obsessive complusive manner. As long as they are successful with feeding and not being eaten they reinforce the repititiousness of what they are doing and may actually pass up something floating by their station that to you or I would equate to more protein...That is a larger fly.

Just wondering aloud here and curious as to what you may think of this hypothesis...From a scientist's point-of-view.

Spence

I guess, on the othe hand, we could just pass it off as play and they were having some fun...:)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
CrenoOctober 25th, 2011, 2:37 pm
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 296
Spence - my understanding is that the cased caddis larvae pretty much have to build a case or they will die. I was told they do not eat until the case is built. I don't think I would call that obsessive behavior and normally I try not to anthropomorphize critters actions. Perhaps simply survival of the fittest?

I am aware of several older papers which examined how caddis larvae will re-enter a case rather than build new one - The best I can find was by Dorothy Merrill (Merrill, D. 1969. The distribution of case recognition behavior in ten families of caddis larvae (Trichoptera). Animal Behavior 17:486-493.) [see: http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/32923]. John Lloyd documented just what we watched in the video (Lloyd, J.T. 1921. The biology of North American caddis fly larvae. Bulletin of the LLoyd Library of Botany, Pharmacy and Materia Medica, Entomological Series, No. 1 21:1-124.)

To briefly summarize the Merrill paper (who studied about 30 species in 10 families from NA) those papers, the majority, but not all, caddis are able to "recognize" their case when it is put in front of them, and so will re-enter the case. Sometimes rapidly and repeatedly like the phryganeids Jason filmed. And the more primitive groups seem to be more comfortable leaving the case.

It is definitely a fascinating thing to watch. Perhaps Jason had read the Merrill or Lloyd papers and just wanted to see it himself? Or, more likely, he simply observed it himself as he often does.

And as a plug for the sciences...... It seems too many of these relatively simple, observational studies are no longer undertaken and/or adequately documented. There is still lots to watch and learn out there.

Creno
OldredbarnOctober 25th, 2011, 3:31 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Creno,

Thanks...Good stuff there!

Maybe "obsessional" is the wrong word, but it is either due to a limitation of my vocabulary or the language to explain what I'm trying to say...I'm not so much "anthropomorphizing" as maybe trying to see links between why these seemingly odd behaviours exits all the way up the chain, from tiny insecta to us hominids...:) Maybe it's a stretch, eh!?

The survival of the fittest no doubt plays a hugh part...Repetition that isn't interrupted by death or dismemberment tends to get repeated...Maybe! :)

Our brains are odd things, no?! My wife gets a kick out of my being able to sing along with what most folks would call "old-time-y" music...Some old tune will be in the background on the radio or a TV ad and I'll sing verbatum the words to it...Some are quite obscure. She thinks of me as more a "Hard-Bop", kind of sophisticated jazz fan and the Grand Ole Opry of the old days...Well not so much.

When I was a little guy I spent my summers in an old shack that was built by my grandmother's father, my namesake, Spencer Beebe. There was no electricity at that time, we had an out house, and an old hand pump well down the hill. I slept in a room where there was an old pot-bellied stove and an old ornate organ where my grandmother left a kerosene lamp on low as a night light for me...

At the head of my bed was a door to my grandparent's room and they kept the door a jar and my grandmother sang these old tunes as I fell off to sleep...She would interject Bible stories and, not always good, bits of family history...Somehow they all stuck in my brain...This was in the mid-60's!

"Recognition"...Now there's an interesting word...That is probably all wrapped up somehow in survival as well no doubt...The critter chooses the wrong structure and may not live long enough to make another guess...Can't make that mistake too many times...

I think that those observational things/studies are very important and account for a great deal of our knowledge base...I think our curiousity is what draws some of you guys to the science side and some of us angler's to the woods & streams for more than just chasing trout. And then on to sites like this one.

Take Care!

Spence

Another odd aside, I remember reading where Freud, when he went through analysis himself, would speak Polish. He had a Polish nursemaid when he was a toddler and he felt this somehow came from her...

Boy! This one should of been a PM! :)



"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
EntomanOctober 25th, 2011, 4:57 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi guys,

This cool video is an interesting experiment... One shelter available to two critters programmed to avoid exposure as a defense mechanism? It seems to me a circular response was stimulated by the artificial isolation in the tray. Spence - kinda like a female locker room reporter walking in on a pair of naked hockey players and only one has a towel? Na... I guess they don't care about that anymore...:)

This family is known for abandoning it's cases when under threat as opposed to others that recede into their cases and hang on like grim death. Perhaps the reason is because they quickly look for others to supplant? It doesn't make much sense that they would give up such hard work so easily if they had to go through the arduous rebuilding each time (not to mention all the time they would spend exposed while rebuilding). Perhaps there isn't as much case building as assumed by this family as they constantly swap shelters with others and use a percentage of cases manufactured by previous generations. A logical assumption may be that their open ended structures (as an adaption to stillwater habitat allowing better water circulation) allowed this behavior to evolve? It's easier to chase an opponent out by biting him in the butt than taking him head on.:)

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
FalsiflyOctober 25th, 2011, 7:40 pm
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
John Lloyd documented just what we watched in the video (Lloyd, J.T. 1921. The biology of North American caddis fly larvae. Bulletin of the LLoyd Library of Botany, Pharmacy and Materia Medica, Entomological Series, No. 1 21:1-124.)


Unfortunately I was unable to gain access to the above information.

I did review:

http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/handle/2027.42/32923].


Which addressed case recognition, but found nothing suggesting:

To briefly summarize the Merrill paper (who studied about 30 species in 10 families from NA) those papers, the majority, but not all, caddis are able to "recognize" their case when it is put in front of them, and so will re-enter the case. Sometimes rapidly and repeatedly like the phryganeids Jason filmed.


I wonder if this active display has been documented in a more natural environment or is the result of the artificial confines. It would seem to me that if we assume the instinctive character of survival then the video proof would counter that assumption simply by drawing attention to itself under the watchful eye of the trout.

???????????

One shelter available to two critters programmed to avoid exposure as a defense mechanism? It seems to me a circular response was stimulated by the artificial isolation in the tray.


I like that!
Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
EntomanOctober 25th, 2011, 8:45 pm
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hi Allan,

It would seem to me that if we assume the instinctive character of survival then the video proof would counter that assumption simply by drawing attention to itself under the watchful eye of the trout.

???????????

It would seem so. Perhaps the behavior that exposes them to trout (thank goodness) is maybe what allows them to escape from smaller and probably more dangerous predators (at least from a numerical standpoint). Let's say Mr. Phryganeidae is crawling along minding his own business when suddenly a crawdad or a predacious water beetle grabs a hold of his house. He runs out the front door relieved he's made his escape. Then he hears the "Jaws" theme starting to play....

Regards,

Kurt
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
CrenoOctober 25th, 2011, 10:38 pm
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 296
Falsifly
found a copy of Lloyd for ya
http://books.google.com/books?id=YtFBAQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=North+American+Caddis+Fly+Larvae&hl=en&ei=EHKnTsy5OMvAtge1y90C&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
creno
TaxonOctober 26th, 2011, 2:36 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1299
Dave,

Oh my goodness, Dave, 607 pages, no less. Now I'll need to get more paper and ink cartridges. And, even though this wonderful gift wasn't intended for me, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sincerely,
Roger Rohrbeck
www.FlyfishingEntomology.com
OldredbarnOctober 26th, 2011, 9:58 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Dave,

Though Christmas has come early for Roger, thanks to you, I'm going to need some help here...:)

Is this something we can save...Printing it may be out of the question. How long will it remain where it is...Do they take this stuff down?

I was just scrolling through and ran in to the paper on some "Gents" trip to New England and his discription of some of the traditional uses of native plants by the local "Indians"...Then "Neo-Tropical" Mayflies from a trip by Needham, and then the caddis...

You may have opened a real can of worms here and a few of us may go silent for a year or so, heaven forbid, just trying to digest/play with this info you have dumped in our laps! :)

This internet thing is awesome!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
FalsiflyOctober 26th, 2011, 10:24 am
Hayward, WI.

Posts: 656
John Lloyd documented just what we watched in the video (Lloyd, J.T. 1921. The biology of North American caddis fly larvae. Bulletin of the LLoyd Library of Botany, Pharmacy and Materia Medica, Entomological Series, No. 1 21:1-124.)


Phryganeidae Neuronia postica

“That larvae under natural conditions often find and enter their deserted cases is improbable, but in captivity the cases are usually reclaimed. Often, when several specimens are kept in the same aquarium, a caseless larva will enter the rear end of an inhabited case, crowding the owner out before him. The owner, when so treated, almost invariably crawls down the outside of the case and himself enters at the rear. Thus ownership many times alternates until finally one becomes discouraged and abandons the case to the other.”

Well done Dave, thank you.

Falsifly
When asked what I just caught that monster on I showed him. He put on his magnifiers and said, "I can't believe they can see that."
CrenoOctober 26th, 2011, 11:04 am
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 296
Roger - the ink manufacturers love folks like you. it would be alot cheaper if ya just bought an old musty copy, and probably more fun to hold.

Spence - I am sure Google Books has some user directions/rights buried somewhere in its site - try links at bottom of their main page. And it has been my experience that while internet material is seldom deleted, the links to the material are often broke. As usual, user beware! Folks are definitely watching what we write here! Three of ya even took the time to write within 12 hours of posting.

creno
OldredbarnOctober 26th, 2011, 11:23 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
It actually said "Free" underneath the link? They also show Lloyd G's book there but with a price below it...(?)

it would be alot cheaper if ya just bought an old musty copy


Does it still exist, other than maybe in a collection like this?

Pre-internet, and during another of my life phases (one of my instars, if you wish :)), I had a book search company look for a book written in the 50's of a professor of mine. He was a guy I wanted for my graduate advisor...His name was Wesley Gould and the book was ,"An Introduction to International Law"...The bookstore that found it for me was called "Buccaneer Books" and I was always concerned that the book had actually been stolen from a library somewhere...The fact that the store was called "Buccaneer" didn't ease my concerns.

When I showed up at Wesley's office with the book he was stunned...He could not believe I had found a copy and wanted the contact info to the bookstore...When the book was published he had two small children and had never saved a couple copies to pass on to them for when they grew up. He taught his course from a tatered copy he had for himself...He taught from this book, the students were using someone else's text...Oddly enough, a text that cited Wesley quite a bit...:) (I told him I would give him the address I had if he would sign my book...Which he did...:)

Man! Has times changed! I did all my papers back then on a damn typewriter...Pre word proccessor or spell-check!

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
CrenoOctober 26th, 2011, 5:27 pm
Grants Pass, OR

Posts: 296
Spence - ya looked down one line to "Free" - try looking down a couple more line and you will find "Buy". Ain't the internet grand ;?)
OldredbarnOctober 26th, 2011, 5:55 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Ain't the internet grand ;?)


Dave,

I grew up in a house where I was the oldest of seven. The only way I ever got any homework completed was by heading off to the local library with a couple good friends...The nice thing about a library is that they eventually kick you out the door...The internet is never closed and for a night-owl by nature...This can be very dangerous...:)

Spence

PS...When the judge asks me when we are on trial for intellectual property theft, I'll tell them that your intent, all along, was for us to purchase the damn thing...;)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood

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