Joyce Sidman, Song of the Water Boatman, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.
When caddis fly larvae (or « caddis worms ») hatch, most species immediately get to work building themselves a protective, camouflaged case. They glue together whatever they find at the bottom of the pond – leaves, sans, pebbles – to form a long tube around their bodies. This tube has an opening for their head and upper legs sot hey can move about and eat. As they grow, the larvae build on to their tiny homes.
Smart young caddis worms select only the best to dress themselves : strong stickly silk, pin-point pebbles, snips of leaves, or the tiny whorled eyelets of snail shells, edged in sand. Who cares if each sleek suit measures less than an inch? First prize gets wings.