Anonyme, “Water Insects” The youth’s Cabinet: a book of gems for the mind and the hear, vol. 2, New York, 1852, p. 10-11.
Great multitude of very curious insects live in the water, and some of them build very ingenious house.
The grubs of the caddis-flies live under water, where they construct for themselves moveable tents, of various materials, such as sand, stones, shells, wood, and leaves, which are skilfully joined, and strongly cemented. One kind of these grubs forms a pretty case of leaves glued together lengthwise, but leaving an aperture sufficiently large for the inhabitant to put out its head and shoulders, when it wishes to look for food.
Another species employs pieces of reed, cut into convenient lengths, or bits of grass, straw, or wood, carefully joining and cementing each piece to another, as the work proceeds, and frequently finishing the whole by adding a broad piece, longer than the rest, to shad the door-way over head, so that the insect may not be seen from above.
A more laborious structure is reared by another of these grubs, which weaves together a group of the leaves of plants into a roundish ball, and in the interior of this forms a cell for its abode.
Another of these water insects makes choice of the tiny shells of young fresh-water muscles and snails, to form a moveable grotto. Many of the muscles are inhabited, but that makes no difference for the little builder, for he drags them along without mercy, keeping them close prisoners. These grotto-building grubs are by no means uncommon in ponds. One of the most surprising instances of the skill of these little creatures is the building of their nests with small stones. The difficulty consists in making a tube about the width of the hollow of a wheat straw, or a crow’s quill, and equally smooth, and uniform throughout. The material used being small stones, full of angles renders this task of no small magnitude; yet the little architects, by patiently examining the stones, and turning them round on every side, never fail to accomplish their plans. This, however, is not the only difficulty. The under surface of this tube must be flat and smooth, without any projecting angles, that might hinder the progress of the little animal when dragging its habitation along the bottom of the rivulet in which it lives. These stones are fastened together by cement.