Subject: Larvae with ”tooth?”
Location: South of Dallas, TX
October 24, 2012 5:08 pm
Hello Bugman –
My son found a very strange larvae/caterpillar that I have been unable to identify. The creature was found on October 20, in leaf litter at a campsite south of Dallas, Texas.
It has a large ”tooth” that it retracts when threatened, and otherwise uses to aid in moving along the ground.
I have scoured BugGuide, Google Images and of course WTB, and cannot find anything similar.
As always, thank you for your time and resources!!
This is some type of Fly Larva. We believe this is a Horse Fly Larva. Here is an image from our archive for comparison and there is this image from BugGuide that also looks similar. Most Horse Flies have aquatic larvae, but some Horse Fly larvae develop in damp earth. We also have these photos of Soldier Fly larvae that we originally misidentified as Horse Fly larvae that look quite similar.
Thank you! I would not have suspected the larva of a fly, as this creature is relatively large (nearly 1.5″ long). After reading more, I too lean toward Horse Fly as the most likely suspect.
Thank you again for helping me with this. My son and I are both fascinated with the small, typically unseen, life that we share our planet with. Your site, coupled with our continuous field searching, has provided a steady stream of education and entertainment.
Hi again Brandon,
Your response has caused us to ponder something that we have long known but have never quite put into words. As educators in the public schools, we are well aware of the responsibilities that teachers have, but when assessing student learning, there are many outside factors that do not ever seem to be addressed. Parents also have a major responsibility in their children’s education. Instilling a love and appreciation of nature at an early age like you are doing is critical if we want future generations to find value in the world around us. That early appreciation will also make the learning that students do at all levels, elementary school, high school and college, more relevant if it is a reinforcement of values they learned at a young age at home. It is the responsibility of the parents to help prepare their students for the future, but sadly, teachers and educators cannot control what happens in the home. Quality time cannot be underestimated and learning is best when there is dialog involved. Alas, as our classrooms get more and more crowded and there is less time for instructors to interact individually with students, we can only expect that learning outcomes in public schools will plummet.
I agree with your pondering, and find that it’s a sad result of our busy corporate society. Parents can easily become too focused on, and too busy with, careers and always seeking to attain more. They rely on school/teachers to do all of the work of educating. Our children pay the price for this more so than what is immediately apparent.
Beyond that, I encounter fewer and fewer adults or kids who are deeply interested in science and nature. We live in a large metropolitan area, and nature is not as readily available here as it was where I grew up in a more rural area. However, it IS most certainly available if you go looking for it. The problem I see is that people just don’t think about nature; they are too busy with “more important” things. My son is always eager to share with his friends about what we’ve found and the pets we keep (reptiles and inverts). His friends become excited and interested when they are exposed to things they don’t commonly see. We frequently receive comments like “You found THAT in your BACK YARD?” While my son and I seem to share this excitement almost inherently, it is something that others must first be exposed to before they can even think about developing an interest in it. This exposure falls outside the realm of the public school system, because it requires venturing out of the classroom or beyond the standard curriculum. If parents (or other leaders) do not offer this exposure, many children will likely never receive it.
I am quite passionate about my hobbies, and my cube at work is full of my photos of both pets and things we’ve found in the wild. Not only does it make for interesting conversation with coworkers, it also raises awareness. We do what we do for our own hobbies and interests, not necessarily for a larger purpose. But, I can only hope that we positively influence others along the way, and cause them to stop and look down the next time they are walking around outside.
Thank you for doing what you do. I read comment after comment on your site reflecting the appreciation of your audience. You are clearly filling a void and serving a great purpose.
Hi again Brandon,
Thanks for being a fan, but even more, thanks for being a great dad.