Squirmy Migration

From a distance it looked like a snake crawling forward very slowly. I should have said “moving” forward because it wasn’t actually crawling, although its parts were. On closer inspection, it was easy to see that the “snake” was composed of hundreds of tiny quarter-inch larvae in several layers. The top layer was moving forward over the lower layers. As the leaders dropped down to the

Migrating Fungus Gnat Larvae

substrate, those following wriggled over top of them. The process continued like a living conveyor belt  with the mass rolling forward at about an inch a minute. This group was only about six inches long but others were almost three feet in length. Each individual larva was somewhat transparent with a black head capsule. They had no legs, so wriggled along over each other. This was a migration of fungus gnat larvae, a tiny mosquito-like insect as an adult. The larvae typically feed on fungi found in mulch, decaying plant material and sometimes on vegetation. Very wet conditions due to the recent rains have caused them to migrate to a slightly drier place where they can feed and grow into adults. This is a rather unusual event that is not witnessed very often.

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