Questions from Richard

In the comments Richard asks:

Richard: Are your ponds covered in snow; ours has been over the past few days?

Jeremy: Yes – both ponds have been covered by about 15 cm snow since Tuesday night (the 5th Jan).

Richard: I’ve only just got round to clearing it? Would that affect photosynthesis of the plants underneath.

Jeremy: If the snow cut out all the light then whilst there was snow cover there wouldn’t be any photosynthesis. Once you’d cleared the snow I would expect plants to start photosynthesising again. However, when it comes to photosythesis my knowledge is at a pretty basic observational level: I know it happens in the sun, and not in the light, and you can see a dissolved oxygen response!

Richard: We also broke the ice – to give the birds something to drink and it’s 5cm thick, in fact the pondweed is frozen inside it. Do you think this would be a fatal blow to the snails and plants inside, or will they recover?

Jeremy: I think the plants frozen in the ice will probably recover and snails probably not. As far as I know the water snails you find in Britain are not resistant to freezing, but I wouldn’t be completely surprised if there were a few exceptions.

There is an American frog that does survive actual freezing, although our Common Frog does not. See the earlier post ‘Really, truly, actually frozen frogs‘.


3 Responses to “Questions from Richard”

  1. Richard Says:


    Many thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Do you know what the affect would be on the smaller creatures like the Rat Tailed Maggots I’ve seen?



    • Jeremy Biggs Says:

      Ahhh – Rat-tailed maggots.

      I come over all PC with these little cretures: how could so harmless a beast have acquired such a terrible name, combining the two things most people hate most – rats and maggots!

      Anyway: the waffling precedes the answer that I don’t actually know for sure.

      The snorkel of a rat-tailed maggot presumably won’t work during icy weather.

      However, it wouldn’t surprise me if they can get enough oxygen to survive through their skins, especially when it’s very cold and they must be pretty much quiescent anyway. But I don’t actually know!

  2. Richard Says:

    Sorry for the offence, larvae of a hoverfly Eristalis.

    It will be interesting to see what the state of the pond is when (if?) it thaws.

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