When I photograph nature, I love finding some creature or behavior that I did not know existed until I photograph it. Almost as good, though, is seeing something I have read about or heard about and not seen in real life to date. I saw something like that today.
As I was leaving for work, I saw a slime trail on the sidewalk. Looking down, I saw what I thought was a large slug–two or three inches long. We have slugs that large here, but they are not common.
But on closer inspection, I saw it was not a slug at all. It was a mass of fly larvae all travelling like one super organism.
I had read about this just recently on the bug tracks blog.
These are the larva of the dark-winged fungus gnat, and they are apparently moving to find a place to pupate.
I took a few quick photos then headed off to work. I still had mud on the knees of my jeans when I left. That’s the price you pay.
The whole mass moved slowly, just about as fast as a slug would. You can read more about the group here.