People! I took Hank to Buse Lake, and it got seriously weird . . . set the Quality to “High” in Youtube (1080p) for this freaky video! And volume up!
Yep, that is a video of so many gross flies. But these flies don’t bite humans or land on us at all. Plus, they make a really cool noise when they retreat – in a wave – away as you approach them. So maybe they are not (just) gross?
My understanding is that these are brine flies. The brine flies flying around in this video are adults who actually spend most of their lives underwater. Eggs are laid on water. When they hatch, larvae feed on purple bacteria on the bottom of Buse Lake. These purple bacteria, incidentally, sometimes cause this lake to turn magenta.
Anyway back to the brine flies. The fly larvae feed on purple bacteria (and other stuff) underwater in this extreme, salty salty lake. Actually, the fly larvae have special organs that remove salt from their bodies so they can survive down there in the brine! Ultimately, the larvae pupate in a larval casing underwater.
Eventually, the larvae emerge from their pupal casing, metamorphose into adults, and float up and out of the water to mate. Their pupal casings wash up on shore and are upsettingly gross (see above). The adults mate and die in a few days, as far as I have read. Pretty simple.
There were creepy rafts of flies around the entire perimeter of the lake, within a few metres of the shoreline. The amount of flies was truly epic. As we were leaving, a bunch of them took off and flew away too. Not sure where they went, or why.
Okay, okay, so now we know about brine flies. But what about all the pink stuff in between the gross pupal cases pictured earlier in the article? Well, they just might be the eggs of . . .
Brine shrimp! Yes, there are cool tiny red shrimp in this salty lake! Did you notice these little cuties in the first video? Their eggs were all over the east side of lake (probably blown their by prevailing winds, along with all the pupal casings). Below are pics of what are presumably brine shrimp eggs by the shoreline.
How are brine flies and brine shrimp connected? I don’t know! Do you?? Please share with me if you do!
Also we saw: popped bubbles in clay depressions, bear tracks, and ghosts.
Here are articles I used to put this together (also used some books from my library). Thanks Rick Howie for the article about pink Buse Lake! And Tom Dickinson for mentioning the pink lake phenomenon to me a couple years ago, which got me out there in the first place. Hope to see a pink lake someday.
Until next time!