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Glassworms of the Chaoborus genus is a very unique looking insect that occurs throughout the world. They have an almost see-through or translucent body in the shape of worms. Although the name glassworm contains the term worm in it they actually larvae that develop into flies in the later stages of life. The larva in the adult stage is also commonly known by other common names like phantom midge because of its transparent body or lake flies as they occur in lakes. Often these creatures are confused with the mosquitoes because of their very similar appearances however, they actually belong to the group of non-mosquito midges.
Glassworms are not only unique because of their body structures, but their behavior also sets them apart from others. They migrate vertically within the water. In the day the larva swims to the bottom-most layer of the lake and buries its entire body in the dense sediment except for the poking head. This is actually their feeding position, they catch their potential prey while staying in this submerged position. They migrate vertically upwards to the uppermost layer of the lake from the bottom around dawn to survive from predatory fish. To know more about the species, keep on reading these amazing facts.
Glassworms are not actually worms but they are a type of small larvae that belong to the Chaoborus genus of midges. They are also known as phantom midge larvae.
The glassworm species of the Diptera order and Chaoboridae family are anthropods that belong to the class Insecta, the common class for all insects.
The global population of the glassworm larvae has not been determined as of yet. It is difficult to detect in the wild since they remain camouflaged with the water. However, it is assumed that they are available in plenty all over the world. The larva is capable of inhabiting all types of water conditions which have helped their population to grow. Therefore, their population is presumably not threatened globally.
These phantom midges are seen across the world. The larva is almost like the mosquito larva and is found in most of the water bodies all around the world.
The phantom midges find it favorable to live in lakes and ponds. They prefer freshwater lakes but can also lice in less oxygenated lakes or highly sedimented lakes.
There is not much information regarding the social behavior of the Chaoborus species. Females lay eggs together but the larvae probably disperse as they hatch. However, a special relation of the organisms is observed with zooplankton which also acts as their prey. Zooplanktons move up to the top surface of the water along with them at dawn. The larvae cannot stay with large aggressive fish as they might prey on them.
The glassworms are generally univoltine in nature, they can live up to only one year of age in the wild. However, some species of Chaoborus have been recorded to have a lifespan of two years of age.
The phantom midge larvae do not have any particular breeding season mainly because of such a short lifespan. They spend most of their life in the larval stage. Males have ultra-feathery antennae by which they detect the presence of a nearby female individual. Adult females deposit the eggs in a freshwater habitat after they breed. The small glassworm larva emerges in the freshwater lakes from the eggs after they hatch. The larvae go through four stages of growth instar before developing into mature adults. The larvae generally begin to pupate at the end of winter when the water temperature begins to rise again. As soon as they develop into adult fly, they leave the water for reproducing and mating.
The glassworm species are not listed in the IUCN Red List and are not evaluated. However, they are abundantly available which suggests the fact they have a large population currently. The range of these creatures is also undefined as they occur in almost all places of the world. The remarkably large range and presumably a big population size would not let the Chaoborus species reach the threshold of endangered or vulnerable animals. They are threatened by the predation of small fish. Fortunately, their vertical migrating behavior and preferring ponds without the presence of aggressive fish species have helped them to survive. In the winter season, the larvae of some Chaoborus species can also be susceptible to some fungal pathogens.
The glassworm is a small size larva of the Chaoborus genus that is found in lakes and ponds all over the world. They have a transparent body with a glass-like texture. On the dorsal part of the body, they have two kidney-shaped black dot-like structures. They are the air sacs of the organism that help them in the vertical migration. They have two black-colored small eyes in the front of the body.
The glassworms look very interesting and unique.
The communication methods of the glassworm have not been determined.
Glassworms can reach a length up to 0.8 in (2 cm). They are twice the length of flatworms.
Glassworms are one of the fastest-moving predators, faster than the praying mantis. They can move at a speed of 14 milliseconds in water.
The weight of the Chaoborus species has not been determined.
The male and the female species do not have specific names, both are called glassworms.
A glassworm baby is called larvae.
The glassworms have a carnivorous diet. They primarily feed on cladocerans and copepods including waterflea, mosquitoes, daphnia, and cyclops. These glass sea worms eat bivalves and snails by wrapping their bodies around them and shooting digestive enzymes.
They are harmful in the sense, they might eat all the fry in an aquarium if they are introduced in one.
A glassworm would make good food for pets, rather than good pets.
The phantom midge does not have any breathing holes like butterflies on their body, they breathe through their abdomen.
The glassworm has a distinct appearance, they have a pellucid and see-through body giving it a glass-like texture. Therefore the term glass is added to the name of the Chaoborus species. Another common name, the phantom midge is also given because of the transparency of the insect's body, mainly in the larval stage. There's another popular explanation behind the name phantom midge that might also be taken into consideration. The two black spots that function as air balloons are present on the back of the larva's body behind its head that resembles the face of a ghost. Therefore they are called phantom midges.
Glassworms can be procured in winter months like the glass sea worms. They act as great food items for some fish species and contain much fewer calories than bloodworms. However, because of their predatory nature, it is better to keep away small fry from the glassworm aquarium. Both live or frozen glassworm can be served as food.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Spaghetti Worm facts, or [Christmas tree worm facts.
You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our I is for Insect coloring pages.
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