A penchant for small things

Probably most readers of this blog will have a sneaking suspicion I’m over-fond of small things.

So this will do nothing to reassure you because here’s another small thing – but a small thing that’s going to turn into a bigger thing, and a rather interesting small thing which tells us something about ponds generally.

The creature below is a young water cricket which I found on the pond at the weekend: almost certainly it’s the Common Water Cricket (Velia capria), though at this size you can’t be completely certain (the alternative is the northern and western animal Velia sauli which has never been seen in this part of the country).

COmmon Water Cricket, roughly quarter full size (you can see a tadpole in the picture too)

And the interesting thing is: this is one of those creatures which is commonest on rivers and streams, but also occurs in the apparently completely different environment provided by ponds. Water Crickets patter about on the water surface, trotting busily around in little swarms, like less accomplished versions of their fellow surface dwellers, the pond skaters.

What’s also interesting is that it must have hatched out on the pond – the larvae can’t fly –  from the eggs laid by the occasional visiting adult. They have not regularly been present on the pond – the last I saw were in the middle of winter (which seems to mean they must fly about in winter – which I can’t quite believe: maybe there is some other explanation) and the nearest place the adults could have come from is a stream about 200 yards away.

You can see the adult here at the Biopix site.

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