Monday, June 2, 2008

Cimex Daemon: A.D. IV NON. IVN.


Cimex Daemon: The Demon Bug

Earlier this week a group of us went to the My Waterloo Days fireworks event in downtown Waterloo. It was a lot smaller this year. For some reason, My Waterloo Days seems to be slowly dying off. They got rid of the annual air show a number of years back, and then the Renaissance Festival died off. Now, the launching of the hot air balloons has come to pass. It's become quite pathetic, really. And the former grandeur of fireworks event has drastically diminished. It used to be that there was a band playing at any given time on a stage on both sides of the river . . . but now, the festivities seemed, for the most part, restricted to a small park a few blocks to the North of the river. Still, there was a great turnout, and the Fireworks display was pretty amazing. They really outdid themselves this year on the pyrotechnics. We were pretty impressed.

But more impressive than the fireworks themselves was a new friend we made. A small friend. While we sat on a small concrete wall at the edge of the river, my group and I, my friend Holly pointed out a small object moving in our general direction on the ledge beyond the wall. It was dark, and a little over four inches long. At first, in the dim light of dusk, it appeared to be a worm. Albeit a rather wide worm, and one that moved with a degree of speed and agility.

Upon closer inspection, this is what our new little friend looked like. A demon bug if ever you saw one! I had never seen one of these before, and had absolutely no idea what it was. We observed it for quite some time, much to the disturbance of Katrina (my girlfriend). Ultimately, I decided that I needed to catch the strange "little" bug. Much to my disappointment, I failed in my attempt. I tried to coax it into crawling into an empty bottle, but it decided that instead it would rather dive into the river behind it. This, of course, disturbed me because I hate to kill anything . . . even bugs. Even demon bugs!

So I spent some time at home trying to research this little beastie. I found out that this isn't just a bug, but in fact the larval form of an even larger insect! The larva is called a Hellgrammite. (Seems a fitting name, doesn't it?). He's basically just a baby Dobsonfly. They are really quite harmless, despite their feral appearance, and are apparently used a lot as fish bait. I learned that I didn't have to worry about accidentally leading it to its doom by inadvertently herding towards the river. They spend a lot of their time living under rocks in bodies of water. They lead an interesting little life, these guys. They can life a few years before they transform fully into a Dobsonfly. Once they transform into the fly, they live only a few days . . . just long enough to lay some eggs, buzz around a bit, and then drop dead. I learned, as well, that if I ever physically touch one of these little buggers, I am not allowed to touch Katrina ever again.

All in all, the night was really nice. It was a great break from stress, drama, and being couped up inside. There was baklava and mini-donuts, fireworks and demon bugs, and to top it all off a small stargazing trip in a park just South of town. Good times, good friends, good food, good pyrotechnics, and good bugs.

For more information on Hellgrammites and Dobsonflies, visit this link:

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