William J. Claxton, Insect workers, Londres, Cassel & Co, 1912, pp. 27-28.
The Insect Basket-Maker
I Wonder how many children have fished in the ponds and ditches during the summer holidays ? Boys are often seen coming home with all kinds of strange things they have captured from the muddy pools. « Tiddlers, » minnows, newts, and many other most curious little creatures are found in their tins.
But there is a most remarkable little creature you leave there that I am quite sure many of you never notice. It lies on the bottom of the pond, and if you watched very closely indeed, you might see him move. He looks like a little case of sticks and leaves all woven so very neatly that many people call him the « Basket-maker », for he makes his home in a kind of very tiny wicken-basket. This little creature is the Caddis-worm.
What a wonderful basket he has woven ! In it he live down in the mud. He gathers bits of sticks and leaves, and sometimes he takes some very tiny grains of sand as well. He cuts all his sticks and twigs into short lengths and then makes them into a perfect tube. « A fine little basket, » you would say, if you saw it. No danger of big fish gobbling him up in that. They would never see him in such disguise.
But it would not be sufficient for him just to make his basket. It is porous at first, and he wants it to be quite watertight. This he does by making some sticky cement with the saliva from his mouth, mixed with grains of sand, and plastering the outside with the gluey substance.
Our little grub is very careful, too, to make his home cosy, He will have to lie in it for a long time, and so he covers it Inside with a beautiful silken lining. The material for this is produced in much the same way as that with which the Water-spider « lined his wonderful home . » You will remember we read about it in the chapter on the « Insect Diver. »
We shall notice that one end of the basket is close up. This is the tail end. The Caddis-worm’s head and legs must be free to come out for food, and so the other end has to be left open.