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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - January 14, 2010

From: Goldsboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany, Pests
Title: Identification of strange tiny creature in plant water
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a house plant rooted in water. I has been for over a year and the plant seems healthy, I change the water often and keep it clean. I now have noticed that something is growing it. A fish type of creature. I cannot find anyone who can explain this. It swims almost bending in half. It is no bigger then a tiny finger nail, but seems to have grown a fish like tail! I am baffled!

ANSWER:

Your strange creature sounds to me like the larva and perhaps pupa of one of the mosquitoes.  A female mosquito could easily lay eggs in your plant container's water without you noticing her doing so or noticing the eggs once they were there.  Here's another link to the mosquito's life cycle.  You can also watch this short YouTube video of the Culex mosquito's life cycle and see how the larvae and pupae move in the water.

 

 

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