Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Critters from the Marsh

The Sandhill cranes in yesterday's post hang out in marshy areas. Rivers, streams, and marshes in Indiana have an assortment of critters that are crane food. The marsh harbors frogs and crawdads; mayfly, dragonfly, damsel fly and mosquito larva; snails; and aquatic insects. The backswimmer whose picture is on the left is an example of the aquatic insect that can be found in an Indiana marsh.

Backswimmers are pretty vicious insects. They like munching on just about anything that they can get their pinchers on; fish fry, tadpoles, snails, other insects. They are not picky. Unlike some other critters who share the swamp they can fly away if conditions of the marsh become too polluted or if the marsh dries up, although they are very tolerant to most conditions. When you watch them swim you notice that they are sleek and shiny. The shine comes from the little bubbles of air they carry with them in order to breath under water. When they stop to rest they hang upside down on some piece of vegetation in the water.

Some people look at a marsh or swamp and think mosquitoes. I look at a swamp and think crane habitat. If you want to learn more go to: Indiana Wetlands or visit a wetland near you.             

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