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Sunday, October 09, 2005

Durian, and longlegged flies


Sometimes things seem to bubble to the surface, or drop in from a clear blue wind blown sky. I had never seen a fly like this longlegged fly before.

It's hardly likely this is a completely new organism discovered by me so where'd it come from? We had a blow this particular day, so maybe it rode in from the east on a hot dry wind, deposited in the garden like silt. All kinds of things get blown in on the santa anas: the smell of cows, flu, ash from distant brush fires. Why not a drop of emerald chitin? But perhaps this species has been here all along unnoticed by little me. Two possibilities: These longlegged flies emerge for a brief period each year, and I'm always distracted, scheming what to be for Halloween during their brief curtain calls. Or, they are here year-round and only now in this magic moment when the veil of selective significance was blown from my vision has the longlegged fly joined the population of my Personal Zeitgeist.

You know that phenomenon when something is brought to your attention; say, durian. Suddenly you hear stories about its nutritional value on NPR; there are references to its smell on sitcoms; the produce man at your supermarket suggests you try it when you had never, ever seen it here among the navel oranges and bananas. The durian has pierced your bubble of awareness; it's entered your personal zeitgeist, and will from now on be noticed by you. After noticing the longlegged fly, I've seen it in many places: just a small emerald flash among the leaves apparently foraging for prey; but I know its shape now, I'm familiar with its quick angular crawl along the leaf's surface, its long long legs, its pointed and boldly segmented abdomen.

As to the fly's identity; Bug Guide suggested it could be condylostylus; What's That Bug agreed, adding this genus is predatory on small insects. Last, cirrusimage.com concurs and itis.usda.gov lists no fewer than 47 species in genus condylostylus.

It's amazing how much stuff I don't know. Welcome to my little world, longlegged fly! I'm looking forward to finding out where, when and how you come to bubble up into my awareness.


And what else have I been missing?

4 comments:

Whirling Pervish said...

I saw one of the those bugs in my garden.

You're right it's truely amazing, I was admiring it, then all of a sudden I slipped and all 20stone of me landed on it.

Oh well, plenty more bugs in the sky as they say.......

Cindy said...

I've lived in O.C. for 18 years, and I see those guys all the time. Interestingly, I usually see them only on the ivy slope in our back yard. Rarely in the front. So they must be pretty picky about where they like to hang out.

cheesemeister said...

I've sometimes seen strange insects that will never turn up again. Particularly spiders. Or there will be a little population increase in a kind of insect one year and they'll be gone the next.
There is a big striped spider with lumpy projections on its back that has made its home on the underside of my parents' deck. It would make sense if it was a tiger spider, but I'm not sure.
Maybe if I'm able to get a decent digital camera I can get pictures of some of the interesting bugs around here and send them to you. Of course now the weather is cold they're all dying off. But we'll see who's back in the spring!
Peace.

vanessa cardui said...

Part of the crazy dream of keeping this blog (and the tons of photos that are behind it) is to track when and where the various species emerge. Thanks for the info, Cindy. I wonder what the lifestyle of the larvae is. One source said they are predators on small insects as are the adults.