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Name: George
Status: other
Age: old
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 10/1/2003


Question:
What is the proper name of a stream larva known locally as "Jim Stretcher"? My web searches to date looks like a Crane Fly Larva shown by Iowa State University Site http://www.ent.iastate.edu/imagegal/diptera/tipulidae/3936.94craneflylarv. html) The crane fly literature indicates 300 species, up to 4 inches long, up to five years to develop, wet ground or mud habitat. I have found the "Jim Stretcher" only in free flowing water: usually in a mixture of sand and leaves, underwater inside a soft decaying log, or in a bank of sand following high water.

I have found this larva not only in Alabama but also in North Carolina and Florida. I suspect it develops over multi-years as it seems available year round. It will swim like a snake, is about one inch long, and when swimming stretches to about two inches long. Looks exactly like the picture in the Iowa State web site. When a site is located, there are several larva in a handful of leaves. I consider these larva to be the worlds best fishing bait, although I seldom get out to find them anymore. When placed on a hook just barely underneath their skin, they will swim constantly. I have never seen this bait mentioned in the press in more than 60 years of following the sport of fishing.


Replies:
I have asked a fisherman/biologist friend about this and not had an answer. I have never heard the name before but the description and behavior you give sounds to me like it might be a leech. There are many species of leeches, most of which feed on plants and do not bother humans. They are somewhat related to worms, not insect larvae.

J. Elliott


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