Fresh Water Grub, found under a rock in a small stream.
June 1, 2010
We found this fresh water grub in a stream in West Virginia. Pics can be zoomed in quite a bit, they’re high quality.
Robert Piazza
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Cranefly Larva

Dear Robert,
If we didn’t know you had found this in an aquatic environment, we might have identified this as a Botfly Larva.  We just found a photo on BugGuide that looks quite similar.  The problem is that Botfly Larvae are internal parasites, and are not found in aquatic environments.  This is a mystery, and we hope someone can assist in this identification.  We cannot imagine this being anything other than a Fly Larva.

Thanks for your reply, I’ll do some more research and see what I can find. If I learn anything new about it, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Several people provided comments that this is a Cranefly Larva.

Tagged with →  

5 Responses to Unknown Aquatic Larva a Cranefly Larva

  1. Vince1 says:

    That looks like some kind of cranefly larva to me. It seems a bit more stout than cranefly larva I have seen, but perhaps it contracted in response to being picked up. They are hard to see in this pic, but it looks like it has the tube-like spiracles near its posterior that craneflies use to breathe (which would mean the cranefly is upside down in this pic).

  2. Vince1 says:

    Here’s a link to a page with some aquatic invertebrates, including a cranefly that looks a lot like the one pictured:

  3. kkroeker says:

    I agree with Vince1 that this is probably a crane fly larva (Tipulidae). They do scrunch up quite a bit when in a defensive posture and most species can retract their heads as well. This one also seems to have partially retracted its posterior end making it difficult to make out some key details. The overall appearance is similar to the subfamily Tipulinae (Bugguide has a very similar image [flipped right side up] at However, Tipulinae larvae have six fleshy lobes surrounding the spiracular disc whereas this one appears to have five. That would put it in the subfamily Limoniinae. The Tipulidae are the largest Diptera (True Fly) family so identification down to genus or species is very difficult. K

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.