What is this larvae(?) found under the ice
Sun, Dec 21, 2008 at 8:55 AM
My son was breaking the ice in our yard pond and found hundreds of these congrgating below the ice, apparently searching for air? I’m fairly familiar with many of the local water bugs and larvae, but never seen this particular creature and was just wondering what it is. Most are approximately .75″ long with a tail 2.5-3″ long. Just trying to teach my son about these kinds of things, and I was a bit embarassed to tell him that I just don’t know what these are!
Ray Elkins
Western Kentucky

Rat-Tailed Maggot

Rat-Tailed Maggot

hi Ray,
This is the larva of a Drone Fly, known as a Rat-Tailed Maggot. Despite its unsavory sounding name, the Rat-Tailed Maggot, though it feeds on decomposing organic material in stagnant water, will eventually metamorphose into a beneficial pollinating insect, the adult Drone Fly, Eristalis tenax, a Honey Bee mimic. Interestingly, this species was introduced from Europe prior to 1874 and it has a coast to coast distribution “From Alaska to Labrador and south into California and Florida” according to BugGuide.

Rat-Tailed Maggots found under Ice

Rat-Tailed Maggots found under Ice

5 Responses to Rat-Tailed Maggots

  1. lisa molloy says:

    I found this rat tailed maggot in Tonga is that a common area to find them, first time to see them here. thank you fror your help

  2. Maria says:

    We just found some here in New Zealand in my old seaweed tea, thanks for helping us figure what they are

  3. Mechell says:

    I just found some in Billings Montana. Never seen them before, very creepy but glad to hear they are a good insect… I’m one to destroy the good insects even if I get th creepy crawlies.

  4. Jim says:

    I have been rooting Cottonwood cuttings and these guys always show up in my buckets here in Douglas County CO. I finally decided I needed to know what they are. Thanks for letting me know they are Drone fly larvae.

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