Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Water Bugs of the Washpool Creek, Booral

When I went to the Stroud area, recently, we went down to the Washpool Creek, a tributary of the Karuah River, to check out the water quality.
With a fine scoop net, and some plastic trays we examined in detail some of the creatures which call these creeks "home". It is pretty amazing doing this, if one has not done it before.

The most obvious creatures are Mayfly larvae. They are easy to identify as they have three parts to their "tails" (3 "caudal filaments"). In fact these are different stages of development, and possibly different species, but that's a matter I shall leave to the specialists.

These insects are "true bugs" but aquatic - they are the "Water Striders" - of the order "Gerridae".If you click to enlarge the image, you will see a tiny (minute) red creature floating on top of the surface of the water. I cannot tell what it is. It has numerous legs - maybe a kind of mite?
This is a Freshwater Shrimp,
(Palaemonid prawn)
along with a very heavily-built Mayfly larva (on right).
Click to read the notes, and to see these creatures in good detail.
This is another Shrimp, with a Water Strider.
This is a very poor shot.
But it is of a different type of bug from the others.
Possibly in the order Veliidae
This last creature is in a totally different group of aquatic life forms. I have been told it is a "Hydra", which would suit it - from the reference to the mythical many-headed beast (the Hydra of Lerna) which terrorised the ancient Greek sailors.

This is a minute creature (thank goodness - it is scary enough at 5mm long), which at first I thought might have been related to the leeches, from its soft body, and its manner of moving, which is to hunch itself up, then project the front end, grab hold of something and them pull itself forward.
Hunched up Hydra - about to stretch out to move forward.

The 5 arms are unusual and separate it from other creatures.
Hydra (if that is what it is) are related to Jelly fish.
Its body is semi-transparent, and obviously soft and flexible.


Junior Lepid said...

Hello Denis,

I have just seen a little red creature in a water trough (established as a frog pond) Tiny and it was paddling around just below the water surface. I had my camera but it zapped off the instant I attempted to focus on it. I think they would have to be Hydrachna species of some sort. I've just been out to see if I can find it again - but it's still hiding, I suspect. Brilliant colour. I'll see if I can accomplish a temporary capture for photographic purposes next time I see it! The trough is home to a number of Litoria ewingi tadpoles at the moment!

Denis Wilson said...

My Hydra(if that's what it was) was crawling, not free swimming.
Suggest make a simple scoop net (bit of fencing wire and old stocking) and get a shallow tray (put an inch of water in it first, then transfer any captured critters), and finally a spoon for really close examination of the tiny things.
I used strong flash to get the details.
Best of luck with it. Its fun learning about totally different forms of life.

shouse said...

I do not think that is a hydra, hydra's are very very small asexual creatures that are related to Jelly fish.

Denis Wilson said...

It was small, at 5mm, but not microscopic.
If not a hydra, then what?
I can find no other type of aquatic life form which it might be.
Any advice welcomed.

Denis Wilson said...

Do not forget that I was using a Macro lens, which magnifies the image greatly - approx 10 x.

Anonymous said...

I have a freshwater shrimp (caught 3), i had to release 2 as they kept killing my fish.but the smallest one still seems to eat them, what can i feed them??

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Anon.
Sorry, I cannot help.
Someone might knopw.
In general such creatures tend to live on minute organic matter which they find naturally in free-f;lowing streams.
Keeping them in artificial tanks, with chlorinated water is probably not destined to succeed.