Mistaken Identify Case of Bugs for Minnows
In Constance Bay, Ottowa, the river watchers have proven their worth. What seemed to be an unfolding problem in the river near Buckham’s Bay is actually a seasonal pattern of insect death and rebirth.
River watcher Hank Jones was one local who saw the vast numbers of dead creatures in the water, and became alarmed at the possibility of dead fish.
“It’s a false alarm,” he said later, after taking samples from around the boat launch area and brining a bag full of bug shells in for analysis to Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown.
The death of thousands of minnows would be worrisome to those who monitor the health of this ecosystem.
But in fact, the strange evidence turned out to be an aquatic insect, shedding its exoskeleton before taking flight. This season, there are many more Mayflies and scad flies, who are busy laying their eggs under water.
The eggs exist below the surface, where they grow until larvae reach the hatching stage. In hatching, they cast away their exoskeletons, which float to the river’s surface. Around this time of year, all the bugs reach maturity around the same time, which creates a massive amount of bug detritus in the waters.