While we were out at the Larchlands we found this stick bug insect in the water along the Whitemud Creek. In fact, after we took a minute to stop and watch we saw many more. These insects had protected their bodies with any material they could find. In that particular area it was pieces of grass and leaves and sticks. We were confused because these small pieces of grass were moving! We spotted legs and knew it must be some kind of larvae or nymph.
Upon further research we found that it was probably a Caddisfly larvae that we were looking at. These insects are quite fascinating. They secrete a silk-like substance from a gland on the labium and begin to stick objects to themselves to camouflage and protect their soft bodies from harm. The silk helps the objects to harden and become like a shell. The Caddisfly larvae are quite diverse and can be found almost anywhere as they are well adapted to many environments. There are many different species of the Caddisfly and each larvae is distinct and identifiable by the resources it uses for its protective covering. Although, not all Caddisfly larvae make protective coverings.
For more about the Caddisfly lifecycle, visit http://www.ecospark.ca/changingcurrents/caddisfly