Saturday, April 7, 2012

Brine Flies

Yes, brine flies. I am inspired by these annoying little things because they are such a part of the Lake. I have seen them, been annoyed by them, and kind of repulsed by them, but I really know nothing about brine flies.

When you go to the Great Salt Lake in spring or summer you are inundated by the number of flies on the shore, like big black clouds floating just off the ground. Here is an image so you can get the idea.

After a little research, I see now that they are very important to the Lake’s ecosystem. The flies support all the shorebirds along the lake and inlets. There are three or more species in the lake: Ephydra cinerea is the most prevalent. The Weber State University Website explains their life cycle:

“The adult flies have an average life span of 3-5 days. Eggs are laid continuously through the summer at the surface of the water. The eggs hatch quickly into larvae which graze on the algal and bacterial community on the bottom, on rocks, or on logs. The larvae receive all their oxygen from algal photosynthesis. When the larvae develop into pupae the adult features develop rapidly and the pupae trap air bubbles which cause them to float and be transported to the shore by the wind, hence the enormous windrows of pupae on shore. “

What’s not to be inspired by?

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