Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Fresh Crane Fly on Green Door
Relatively early on a recent morning (well after Mr. Cardui gets outta bed, but before the coffee was done dripping) my attention was called to a dragonfly or something on the back door of our house. Even without caffeine, I was sharp enough to figure it couldn't be a dragonfly in mid-February. But crane fly, that makes sense. This female looks nice and fresh, undamaged and kind of dewy, like she just emerged from the her pupa hidden under the rotting leaves and miscellaneous detritus around the area drain nearby.
I imagine this is a member of one of the many species in genus Tipula; looks a lot like T. paludosa, a recent immigrant to the US from Europe appropriately called common European crane fly. But looks aren't everything when it comes to crane fly identification. There are well over 400 nearctic (North America + Greenland) species in Tipula; and "A few species in this large genus are distinctively marked" ! so sayeth Bugguide, emphasis entirely my own. Size (I forgot to measure her (remember . . . no coffee) but I think the body length was about 2 cm), time of emergence (now), and known geographic distribution (T. paludosa is recorded in the Pacific northwest and maybe northern California so far . . . oops) are ways to help with identification for amateurs such as me.
Anyway, I welcome crane fly season with open doors as they are always a big hit when found in or on the house.