peekaboo !

tip-
the best way to find these creepy creepies is to sit down and wait till you see something that isn’t supposed to, smile. the shiny teeth give them away every single time.

Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,

For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.

~William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire,” 1894

you just keep me hangin’ on

this image’s title was as you might guess, influenced by the song that popped into my mind when i found this spider web trapped mayfly. unconscious associations: i’ve long ago abandoned the idea of trying to figure them out.
just as a gratuitous smile from a total stranger in the street, they’re just there and they’re appreciated.

How fish would see insects

if they had laser-scanning microscopic vision but perhaps luckily enough for us, they don’t, or otherwise they’d never be so easily fooled by our silly little flies… 😉

midge-pupae-i-siwanowicz
midge pupae

“If you’ve ever wondered how a diving beetle swims through the water or manages to rest just on the surface, the answer is in part because its foot is infinitely more complicated than your own… The photos are made with a confocal laser-scanning microscope capable of “seeing” vast amounts of detail beyond what you might capture with a traditional lens-based microscope.”   trés groovy. for more absolutely amazing-mind-bending close-up bug imagery by Igor Siwanowicz click either pic above. enjoy !

diving-beetle-i-siwanowicz
diving beetle a.k.a, our little friend the singing penis.

Sticky, stretchy, waterproof, the stuff that holds it all together.

cased caddis housings are simply fascinating. used for protecting their fragile abdomens, to conceal themselves among all the stream bed debris and as ballast, these seemingly simple-minded creatures are pretty ingenious to say the least. the documentary footage is excellent, explanations simple. interesting for fishers and nature lovers of all ages, be sure to share this with your little ones, specially if they’re into creepy-crawly bugs, enjoy !

Caeneus

“A young nymph loved by Poseidon. One day the god said he would give Caenis anything she wanted in token of his affection. She asked to be changed into a man, and an invulnerable fighter at that. Although this was the last thing Poseidon had expected or wished to hear, he obliged, and Caenis became Caeneus.
Under her – or rather his – new name, Caeneus became a great warrior and got so carried away with his prowess that he walked into the middle of town one day and propped up his spear in the marketplace.

“From now on, everybody,” said Caeneus, “you will worship my spear as a god.”

who would have thunk such a lovely creature would get its name from a soap-opera…

oh, boy ! there’s no way that’s going to turn out well for the pompous, spear-weilding, newly-named Caeneus trans.
click here for the rest on Mythweb.com, enjoy !

stoned dead

which sort of describes how I feel at the moment but while I still have my shuck, this little guy’s a lot better looking than me.
here’s a first glimpse of my annual springtime Scottish tour that I hope you’ll enjoy.

“…then others just don’t fanny around…”

not a whole lot to learn or whoop and whap about but a 1:52 short little venture into Scottish river-side humour for your pleasure that’s bound to raise a few lip corners. the cheering ooohs and ahhhhs make it really special, enjoy !

Mayflies have two Penises


“Aquatic entomologists place little emphasis on body color when attempting to identify a mayfly species. They collect virgin, male, mayfly spinners, and dissect them to clearly see their penes (mayflies have two). They then count the spines on the penes and compare them to photos in books to identify each species. There is no way to be sure of the species from a female spinner, and you may not be able to tell from a nonvirgin male. No kidding! I couldn’t make this stuff up.”
see ? as seemingly far-fetched, mind-boggling, thought-provoking and mostly giggly because it’s not like these two thingies are going to double their pleasure..,  as much as i like to make up shit i didn’t make up this post’s title either.

seeing how some aquatic bugs breathe through their butts and then all the others do all sorts of other weird things, that one little fact (ok, two) doesn’t help us all that much if we’re trying to match a hatch on the stream but it’s all good to know because well, knowing is better than not knowing, it’s cool and this kind of stuff is just a reminder that fiction usually isn’t so far-fetched after all. the weird and mostly wonderful is all around us and it’s real.

crazy chiro m.fauvet-TLC 3-6-16
sometimes it’s a little confusing. can you name these bugs ?

Paul Weamer’s excellent article, Understanding Mayflies on Fly Fisherman -via Erin Block’s super-duper Tippet section at MidCurrent- doesn’t give us all the answers either but goes a long way in getting to know our little friends a little better.

click either pick to access the complete article and please excuse the fact that the main character in the second image isn’t a mayfly but hey, it might turn into one if you stare at it long enough… enjoy !

butter-belly Ben

is a funny little guy that stops by TLC headquarters once in a while. he doesn’t have much to say and I don’t understand his sign language and he doesn’t understand English or French or my own sign language.

we do however play ‘show me yours and I’ll show you mine’ so I pull up my t-shirt and show him my belly, Ben in turn does the same. I’m not sure what he gets out of our little exchange but I get to observe all his little details and not just groove on how cool looking my little friend is but also get to figure out what can make a great adult chironomid imitation and all that seen from below, the fish’s point of view. it’s a pretty good deal, I like this game.

image

‘caders

cicadai was just a little boy, not sure what year but i definitley recall a certain and very strong alarm or rather, worysome anxiety all around me at school, with family and friends and even on the news:

The CICADAS are Coming !!!”

we’d made it through the Bay of Pigs and the Beatles, we where getting the three daily number reports from Vietnam- US soldier death and injuries, and enemy death tolls and people where freaking out over a few goggly-eyed bugs. come on…
they did indeed arrive and it wasn’t just a few. i clearly remember hearing these things approaching something like 24 hours before they finally got to my neighbourhood. the constant droning was an equal mix of spooky-as and fascination and something that had this little boy all excited. adults had told us they where completely inoffensive, they didn’t bite, scratch or sting but you know, kids are kids and the grapevine had them depicted as blood-sucking demons that could enter your ears and nibble on your brains. even if none of that super-cool-grodey-exciting stuff ever happened, it’s enough to say that we all wore our winter hats pulled down low.

whether at school or at home we all where on ‘look up patrol’ eagerly scrutinizing the sky awaiting their arrival. the idea was that the first to spot one would phone the others of the gang to warn them of the devil’s coming but cell phones where only to be found in science fictions novels at that time and most of us didn’t even have permission to use the home phone by ourselves.
regardless, the creepy ‘cader things came. it was like sheets of big bug rain, they’d stupidly fall down the back of your shirt, splatter on windows and windshields, would slap you in the face as they zig-zagged about and where basically not so interesting after all and annoying as hell. and loud.
you couldn’t take a step with smooshing several, i can still remember the sound. throwing them at both other boys and girls to hear them squeel got old quick:  “once you’ve seen a million cicadas you’ve seen them all” or so i’d thought, until i found this fantastic short by Samuel Orr that depicts a complete lifecycle of these strange and crunchy creatures.

now, this film isn’t about fly fishing but then of course it is. i haven’t had the luck/oportunity/chance to be in an area when they’ve accomplished their every 17 year come out since i’ve been a fisher but its really high up there on the wishlist and that little boy’s excitement is still there but this time it’s with a purpose; to catch big-big trout who love to eat big-big bugs.
as always when fishing i’ll have a hat of some sort on but at least i won’t have to worry so much about having my brains sucked dry. i hope you’ll enjoy Samuel’s film as much as i did.

edit- no matter what i do the video starts at 1:15… this is a first and don’t know what to do about it. please use the slider to get the beginning. sorry.

Can you breathe through your butt ?

probably not and however much i try, i can’t either… but thanks to the inquisitive and coolnerdy group at Noticing we’ll find out how and why dragonfly nymphs do exactly that and other exciting things with their wiggly butts.
dragonfly-nymph-rocket
we’ll also get a pretty darn good explanation how mayfly and other nymphs manage to breathe whilst being underwater (something i’m already pretty sure none of you can do) and all sorts of nifty and fascinating things about our favourite bugs. mayfly-gills1wonderfully explained, this article is well worth sharing with your little ones as its yet another fantastic example of the marvelous, adaptive, fascinating capabilities of the animal world right there at our (wet) feet. they’ve found the perfect balance of easy-to-understand informative while keeping things light and humorous. the site is quite new yet they’re off to a fantastic start and i really-really wish them well.

to read more and see a video showing why dragonfly nymphs are next best thing after Alien and find out why all these grey beachballs are trying to prevent the red one from going out you’ll have to click on it to see. enjoy !
lonely-oxygen-400px

Palmering, Pilgrims, fly tying history, the Worm and the Plague

thanks to this great comment left by reader Phil Foster on yesterday’s brainwashem’ young- Julian’s Wouf-Wouf salmon fly in regards to my mentioning “in the fly tying world, ‘palmering‘ means winding a hackle around the hook shank, not pulling hackle fibres back before winding/palmering the hackle to the hook shank.”

palmerworm 3“Per “The Fly Fisher’s Illustrated Dictionary” authored by Darrel Martin…….PALMER
A forward-spiraling hackle, a running hackle, with or without stem gaps; also called a ‘buzz hackle’; any fly tied with palmer hackle. The tying technique of spiraling a hackle laterally along the shank or body of a fly; the hackled, artificial fly resembling the Palmer worm, dated 1651; an artificial resembling a Palmer-worm, a hairy, wandering tineid moth larva. The term ‘palmer’ comes from the wandering pilgrim-beggar or palmer, “… the Palmer got its name from the pilgrims who walked …to the Holyland in fulfillment of a vow. When they came back home they wore pieces of palm leaves in their hats to signify they had made that long journey and were called palmers….Because a caterpillar , with all it’s legs, does a lot of walking, it likewise became a palmer” ( Harold Smedley, ‘Fly Patterns and Their Origins'[1950]. The medieval Palmer wore crossed palm leaves to indicate his travels.” The Palmer Worm is a small worm covered with hair, supposed to be so called because it wanders over all plants”( Charles Bowlker, ‘The Art of Angling’ [1839]”

which got me to wondering about how the verb ‘Palmering’ originated (actually, i’ve been wondering about this for years but never took the time to do a little research…) and found some interesting if not mostly completely non-fly tying related results yet they’re all related to this very stylish and hairy bug. enjoy !


Dictionary

palmerworm
noun palm·er·worm \-ˌwərm\
Definition of PALMERWORM
: a caterpillar that suddenly appears in great numbers devouring herbagepalmer worm

“I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured [them]: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD”

“Ancient Palmer Worm. THE Palmer-Worm, or Pilgrim-Worm, mentioned in Joel i. 4, and Amos iv. 9, was a voracious, hairy caterpillar, which was, with the locust, a scourge of the East. Even before it reaches the winged state it is very destructive, but after it attains that period, its ravages are terrible.”

“That which the palmer-worm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker-worm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”

suffice to say, and for our fly tying purposes, even if it is somewhat amusing to see how our prickly friends where transformed into crawling, earth-sucking  Mothra-esque demons, we can completely ignore all this biblical stuff, safely continue our fly tying activities and sleep well at night knowing how the hackling technique got its name.
 
palmerworm 2 it’s a little sad to see such a lovely creature get so much bad press but in the end, we’re still around to admire its beauty and be thankful for inspiring early fly tiers to create what is one of the most basic tying techniques there is.