Caddisfly larvae and their ability to transform ordinary stones into protection from predators

There are more than 1 million species of insects on Earth, making them the largest class of animals in the world. Their lifestyle is completely different from that of mammals, reptiles and other representatives of the animal world. For example, while many large animal species give birth to fully formed young, insect offspring go through several stages of development. First of all, insects are born inside eggs, then larvae hatch from them, which turn into pupae – only then adults form from them. The larvae of some insects have unique abilities. For example, tiny caddis flies create “armor” for themselves from stones and shells to protect themselves from enemies. If you give them jewelry as a material, you get expensive jewelry. At least one person makes a lot of money from this.

Caddfly larvae and their ability to transform ordinary stones into protection from predators. Caddisfly larvae create “armor” for themselves from different materials, even gold and diamonds. Image: Photo.

Who are caddisfly insects

Caddisflies are an order of insects in which there are about 15 thousand species. It is possible that there are several thousand more varieties in the world, science just doesn’t know about them yet. Caddisflies are so diverse that there is a separate field of science for their study, it is called trichopterology.

Caddisflies live everywhere except Antarctica. Scientists believe that the greatest diversity of these insects is concentrated in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

What are caddisfly insects? An adult caddisfly. Image: Photo.

Adult caddisfly. Image:

Adult caddisflies look like unremarkable gray butterflies. They have a rounded head with two eyes, a pair of antennae and a proboscis for sucking up liquids. While the wings of butterflies are covered with scales, caddisflies have small hairs. Adults eat almost nothing and live only a couple of weeks, so the main purpose of their life is reproduction.

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Houses of caddisfly larvae

After mating, female caddisflies lay eggs and attach them to underwater rocks and plants. After three weeks, the eggs hatch into larvae that have no protection from the external environment. Fortunately, in the course of evolution, they learned to make armor for themselves for defense against enemies, camouflage and resistance to water flow.

Houses of caddisfly larvae. “Naked” caddisfly larva. Image: Photo.

“Naked” caddisfly larva. Image:

Like butterfly larvae, caddisfly caterpillars can secrete silk. They can use it as glue when creating armor, which can also be called covers or houses – as you like. The simplest house they can build is a reed tube. But usually caddisfly larvae collect moss, leaves, small shells and other debris to create a durable shell for their body.

Houses of caddisfly larvae.

The “house” of a caddisfly larva. Image:

Dwellings made from shells may weigh more than larvae, but they carry them without any problems. They are well preserved as fossils, making it very convenient for scientists to study their evolution. Judging by the findings of paleontologists, caddisfly larvae learned to create houses 250 million years ago. At least, this is the age of the oldest examples of their armor.

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Insect jewelry

French artist Hubert Duprat has been using caddisfly larvae to create expensive works of art for many years. He breeds them in a special container with precious stones and metals. Insects, following their instincts, create homes for themselves from scrap materials, resulting in unique decorations. Over time, they crawl out of their houses, turn into pupae, and then into adults. And the designer still has at his disposal beautiful jewelry that has no analogues.

Jewelry made from insects. The caddisfly larva is dressed in jewelry according to the decision of Hubert Dupre. Image: Photo.

The caddisfly larva is dressed in jewelry according to the decision of Hubert Dupre. Image:

Jewelry made from insects. After the transformation of the larva into a pupa, unique jewelry remains. Image: Photo.

After the larva transforms into a pupa, unique decorations remain. Image:

Jewelry made from insects. The designer uses different jewelry. Image: Photo.

The designer uses different jewelry. Image:

It is known that Hubert Dupre loved animals since childhood and knew very well that caddis flies are excellent bait for trout. He saw how insect larvae build houses out of stones, and over time he decided to see what would happen if he replaced ordinary stones with precious ones. The experiment turned out to be successful, and today the man earns a lot of money from his business.

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The larvae of caddis flies amaze with their amazing ability to create safe living conditions for themselves. They can easily be added to our list of the strangest animals whose existence is hard to believe. Be sure to read this article, because there we talked about humpbacks, giant scale insects, yeti crabs and other creatures that you might not even suspect existed.