lord of the flies

on tonight’s program, we marvel at the incredible life of the fishfly. that’s right…the fishfly.

Fish Flyfish-fly
A noun
1 fish_fly, fish-fly
similar to but smaller than the dobsonfly; larvae are used as
fishing bait

Category Tree:
object; physical_object
living_thing; animate_thing
organism; being
animal; animate_being; beast; brute; creature; fauna
neuropteron; neuropteran; neuropterous_insect

while the internet has yet to embrace this particular woodland creature, if you’ll indulge me for the next few minutes, it would be my absolute pleasure to introduce you all to the reigning king of insect love.

first and perhaps most importantly, this heroic tale begins with a rather crippling disability. you see, the common fishfly is actually born without a mouth, and thus, has no physical way of ingesting any additional energy over the course of its brief but productive life. now given this cruel evolutionary twist of fate, what’s a poor fishfly to do?

in a tribute to modern darwinism, this crafty little insect eventually found a way to use what little life he was given to make the most of his genetic stock. “but how?” you might ask. “the damn thing can’t eat!”

what follows is a sample of the fishfly’s first few thoughts as it finally hatches from its deliciously slimey larvae and realizes the painful irony of its existence:

okay. no mouth. that really sucks.
plan b: gotta make babies. lots and lots of babies.
hmm. this could be fun…

my first encounter with the infamous fishfly came at what might be southern ontario’s last great bastion of uncaught bass. in the weeds along the northern end of this pristine spring-fed lake, as the wind began to calm and the sun began to set, a swarm of fishflies suddenly and remarkably appeared.

my very first thought: “which side is the head?”

the fishfly’s cripiling physical disability is immediately evident. its tail (what i orginally thought was the head) looks exactly like the crown of a typical snail: long and narrow, with two horny spikes that rise up on the either side of a bulging digestive orifice (what i originally thought was the mouth).

on the flip side, its head is something that can only be described as a small, erogenous sensor. in the less than 24 hour lifespan of this particular north american species, the fishfly’s sole and exclusive purpose is to hump its brains out using every last calorie of energy in its body. not a bad life, some might say. but others might see its inherent tragedy.

after nearly a full day of genetic population, the fishfly makes his heroic “last stand” in front of the brightest light-source around (which in most cases is the otherwise crystal clear window of a nearby cottage). in that spotlight, on show for the entire world to see, the mighty fishfly sowes his final few seeds at the exact moment that his life expires, leaving his fragile, invertebrate body to collapse on the transparent pane of glass next to hundreds of his closest peers.

given this grusome and often messy quietus, it isn’t difficult to see why the fishfly hasn’t received much praise, but the startling reality is that this enchanting arthropoda hasn’t received much attention at all. such is the reality of the wild animal kingdom: mankind loves to catalogue, but rarely does it seek to understand.

with that in mind, i thought it only fitting to reward the passionate fishfly with his own spot in the massive digital archive that is the world wide web. to be sure, this marvelous mating machine has been around for a whole lot longer than we have, but for some reason, without our help, its place in the history of our planet might never be captured in words. now this article is by no means “accurate”, and is based on secondary source material at best, but if anyone out there knows the real story behind this horny little bug, i’d encourage them to write up an article and send it in, and i promise to post it on the site right next to mine…