Alderfly Larvae



 

Common Name
Alderfly Larvae
Category
Insects
ScientificName
Sialis spp.
Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Insecta
Order
Megaloptera
Family
Sialidae
Genus
Sialis
Species
SubSpecies
 

 

Description
Elongated body; abdomen with 7 pairs of gills along each side and a long feathery tail-like filament on the end; chewing mouthparts
Size
1.12 in. (3 cm) long
Ecological Role
Alderfly larvae are fully aquatic predators that feed on small aquatic invertebrates, such as snails, isopods, and insects. Larvae are an important food source for fish and predatory aquatic insects, such as dragonfly naiads.
Fun Facts
  • There are several species of alderflies that live in Kentucky, but they are all similar in appearance and only experts can distinguish between them.
  • In Australia, alderfly larvae are twice as large as the ones that live in Kentucky and have earned the nickname "toebiters."
Food
Aquatic insects and other invertebrates, including mayfly naiads, aquatic sowbugs, snails, and caddisfly larvae
Cover
 
Nest
 
Breeding
 
Eggs
 
Habitat
Under rocks and other structure in streams and rivers
Kentucky Distribution
Statewide
Life Cycle
Four developmental stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult (complex, or complete, metamorphosis); females lay eggs near water; upon hatching larvae crawl into water; larvae feed and molt several times over a period of several years until they leave the water to pupate for the winter underground near the water's edge; adults emerge in early summer to mate and lay eggs; adults live for only a few days.
Life Span
 
Life Stage
 
Reproduction
 
Seasonal Changes
 
Spawning
 
Status
Uncommon
Uses
 
Voice
 
Young
 
What We Can Do
Like all aquatic organisms, alderfly larvae depend on clean water to live. The disappearance of wetlands and the pollution of rivers and streams are a potential threat to this and all aquatic organisms. Because of their sensitivity to pollution, alderflies are biological indicators of stream health.
Host
 
Diagnosis and Control
 
Interesting Facts
 
Contributed By
 
Website
http://www.wlu.ca/science/biology