Subject: Morphing Pods
Location: John Bryan State Park – Yellow Springs, OH
June 7, 2015 9:06 am
I live in Ohio and was walking through the woods on May 17th. We were down by the creek and on the over hanging rocks we found these strange pods. Some looked like they could be scale bugs but as we examined more we could see the cycle unfold. The pale off white dripping pods eventually turned into so sort of flying insect. Could you shed any light on what sort of creatures they could be?
Signature: Curious Naturalist
Dear Curious Naturalist,
We wish you had better quality images. We do not know what is going on here, but it appears there are several different species of insects along with what you are calling “Morphing Pods”, and we have not been able to find anything similar looking online. The larger white bodies insects with dark markings and wings do not look familiar to us, but hopefully one of our readers will be able to provide some information. Can you provide any additional information regarding the size of the things in question?
I am sorry about the quality I only had my phone on my at the time. They were no bigger than a small fingernail. It was almost as if they were globs sprouting wings, then eyes and so on. At first I thought it was the early life cycle of another insect I had seen but I am an amateur and can not tell if they are similar enough. here is what I thought they MIGHT turn into. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me with this mystery.
Thanks for the additional information. The new image you provided is a Golden Backed Snipe Fly and we don’t believe it has any connection to the pods you observed.
Eric Eaton confirms our own suspicion
I’m thinking the “cycle” is the other way around. It looks clear to me that these are midges that have become infected with some kind of entomopathic fungus. This is certainly well-documented in other flies, but I haven’t seen a group effect like this before.
Thanks so much Eric,
We had pondered the possibility that this might be a fungus. Thanks for the confirmation.