VCSU Macro-Invertabrate Lab
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Order Diptera - The Rattailed Maggots
Distinguishing characteristics - The most obvious feature of the rattailed maggots is their very long, telescopic respiratory tube (Figs. A and D). It should be noted that some species do have a relatively short tube, but those we've found in our samples from North Dakota have the long respiratory tube. Other features include the head partially retracted into thorax (Fig. A), the body covered with fine minute hairs (Fig. B) and having a wrinkly appearance, and usually a blunt anterior end (Fig. C).

Tolerance Value - Undetermined

Feeding Group - Collector

Notes - The rattailed maggot larvae are often called "mousies" and are used by some fisherman for bait. They are usually found in the shallow margins of ponds, pools, and marshes. Since we have concentrated our efforts on sampling rivers and streams, we have rarely collected these larvae. They are associated with organically enriched water, and one species is known to be found in sewage water. Their food consists of detritus and microorganisms in some species, and organic ooze in others. The size of the Rattailed Maggots at maturity is typically 4-14 mm, but larger species can exceed 70 mm when fully extended.

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