The Strange Ecology of the Cats’ Water Bowls (by )

At the weekend I was cat sitting and I went to empty the cats' bowl in the Mill to discover that it had what I had frist thought were drowned ants in it. Instead they were rather disturbing little tagpole type creatures swimming about in it - they were about 2.5 mm long with forked tails and littke spikey hair type structures coming off of them - there was a ring of slightly bigger orange spikes between the head and the tail compared with the dark grey of the rest of them this stood out quiet alot!

What where they? Are they in the Mills water supply? Had the water not been changed often enough and they were insect lavea that had been laid in there? If so what type of insect? They were quiet disturbing really.

I then went over to the Bakery only to discover that our cats' water had its own (but different) little ecology going on! It appeared to have little grey 'shrimps' living in it - the biggest being about 6 mm and hence very visable. their tails had three long hair type structures coming out of them - they really really looked like shrimps - but where on earth did they come from? Are their shrimps in our water supply or have they come from somewhere else? It is a mystery!

Anyone got any idea?


  • By Aunty Lizzy, Wed 5th Sep 2007 @ 7:45 pm

    Sarah I spoke to Uncle Jim who is quite knowledgeable about these sort of things because of the pond. Without actually seeing them he says that what you are describing sound like gnat larvae. The two lots appear different because they are in different stages of development.

    Hope this helps

    Aunty Lizzy

  • By sarah, Sat 8th Sep 2007 @ 9:54 am

    Ah! - how long must the water have been there then?

  • By Aunty Lizzy, Tue 11th Sep 2007 @ 10:23 am

    At a guess I would say toooooooooo long!!!

  • By Lionel, Wed 12th Sep 2007 @ 5:29 pm

    yes, i remember gnat larvae like that in our water butt - just think of the cloud of gnats you see over the stream where the watercress grows.

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