His tabernacle

Anonyme, « The Caddis or Case-Fly », New York, Aquarium, vol. II, n° 25, octobre 1892, p. 6-7.

Although the larvae of the caddis flies (the caddis worms) are very destructive to aquarium plants, which they attack at the tender tops to obtain building material for the enlargement of their houses, they are also very amusing, if kept in a jar with aquatic plants by themselves. We see them busy at the nottom, adding frgaments of plants, pebbles, minute shells, even if the snails within them are alive and any small debris that their fingers can seize hold of. Last season the writer had amongst a large number of cads, one that had his case nearly destroyed by accidentally falling from the table. I removed from him what remained of his case, and threw him into a jar with a water-soldier (Stratioides aloides) and a few snails (lymnea). He set to work to repair his tabernacle, and the snails helped him, for they nibbled a leaf of the Stracioides into shreds. These shreds the cad gathered and every day he added a fresh piece, so that, in about tend ays he appeared in a suit of green, his clothes bulged out to an enormous size, and everywhere studded with points and corners, the most comical sight that could be imagined. Since he could find nothing of a small neat pattern, he took what he could, and became a perfect Jack in the green, nearly an inch and a half in length, and thicker than a carpenter’s lead pencil. The movements of these creatures are as comical as their specimens of tailoring. We se them mounting a stem or leaf with great gravity, when suddenly up goes the tail, the legs hold tight, and the case turns completely over, as if on the first of May, Jack-in-the-green were to dance on his head. When the creature is hidden, and the case sways to and fro like a buoy attached by too short a rope the sight is very curious. The perfect insect bears ressemblance to the two families which stand on either side of it- the Lepidoptera, or true butterflies, and the Neuroptera, of which the dragon flies and other membranaceous winged insects are members. As soon as he enters the world, he begins to show his skill in tailoring, and by means of silken threads and gluten constructs his case of bits of stick, straw, dead leaves, or shells, in fact, whatever he can get, and as long as he retains the worm-like form the case is his castle, and he can defy the world. The case outside is generally a rough affair, but if you draw out the cad you will se that Inside it is perfectly cylindrical, smooth, and polished and around tthe doorway, through which the larva makes acquaintance with the world, it is neatly finished with a very circular rim. When you have removed a cad from his case, if you throw him into a tank you will learn in an instant what is the use of his case, for his soft nakedness is no sooner exposed than the minnows finish him, and find the flavour excellent. But to see a cad in his proper uniform moleste dis a very rare sight indeed. When he feels the numbness of death creeping over him, the cad draws in his six legs, and sets to work inside to weave a winding sheet and to shut the shutter for he knows that his time is come, and there is no one to do such melancoly offices for him. All alone in his solitary cell, the hermit works day and night, and hourly his fingers grow more feeble.