Strange White Larvae In Webbing Under Rock
November 21, 2009
I’ve been using your site to identify insects ever since I discovered it a year ago. The work you guys do here is really amazing, especially encouraging people not to kill the insect for identification!
Please note that the image here was taken in September under a rock on the bare ground. There were none of these larva on the ground under the rock, they seemed to be confined to their ‘webbing’. I only took one photo unfortunately, as I figured they’d be pretty characteristic and easy to identify. This has not been the case so far…
Muskoka, Ontario, Canada
Your image represents one of two letters with mystery larvae we just received. We thought your example must be some species of fly, but our preliminary search drew a big blank. We also entertained the possibility that they might be Flea larvae since they spin a silken cocoon, and though there is a resemblance, we cannot find any information indicating this degree of group habitation. We will contact Eric Eaton in an attempt to give you an answer. You might want to consider providing a comment to this posting online in the event that we get a response far in the future.
Eric Eaton Responds
I have now found several images of fungus gnat larvae on the ‘net that show a distinct head capsule. They are well-known to spin silk or mucus, too, so that part fits. There may be a species up in Canada that is colonial as suggested by the image, but that is a group of flies I am barely familiar with (families Mycetophilidae and Sciaridae).