Nature table

During the summer months you’ll often hear anglers talking about hatches of an insect called a Green Peter which is an important food item for trout.

But finding out exactly what a Green Peter is in entomological terms isn’t easy. The term should really only be employed to describe a traditional Irish pattern of artificial fly, which can be tied dry or wet, but it’s also often applied to the natural insect. The insect in question is the Great Red Sedge, often called a Murragh in Ireland. But, to complicate matters, there are at least two insect species which share these names.

Both are large, moth-like flies with a wingspan of up to 50 mm, grey green bodies and red-brown wings. They spend most of their lives under water as caddis larvae in lakes, ponds and slow-moving rivers. The larvae live inside intricately constructed cases made of grit and scraps of vegetation. To add to the linguistic confusion, Americans don’t use the word ‘sedge’ for the winged adults — they call them caddis flies.


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