11 March 2009

in the beginning, there were Water Scorpions

In July of 2007, around the time of the first Colorado Bend State Park adventure, Matt and I became avid fans of Water Scorpions. What on earth is a water scorpion? Great question. Apparently they're the Nepidae - basically the aquatic version of a preying mantis.

Now, my favorite page on Water Scorpions is by Dakota, a student in Third Grade (as of 2007, at least) at West Tisbury. His page also has an awesome illustration, though other photos might be helpful to get an idea of the mantis-arms. Back to Dakota, though - his school's site has a page that's all about water cycles, water animals and everything else water related that you can think of.

"Do you like to eat tiny fish and tadpoles that live in the pond? Well, if you do, you would want a water scorpion to be your lunch lady. "

Here's Matt's photo... alas, it is dead, having been skimmed from the surface.

The surprise was that the body of water was not a stagnant pool of festering pond scum - it was a somewhat neglected swimming pool. Of course, there were pink-bellied Giant Water Beetles (Hydrophilus ovatus) as well, but they weren't stabbing micro-snackies while I watched.

I'd end the post with "...so what's in your pool?" but sometimes I'm not sure we really want to know ;-)

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