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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crane Fly Season

I was out in the yard doing yard things:  checking out plants just coming into bloom; cursing the pests [sowbugs?] [too dry for slugs?] that are pock-marking the daisies; finding a home for the new member of the gnome team; noticing a crane fly (Tipula paludosa) gracefully floating up out of the foliage and alighting on a salvia sprig, offering itself up for close examination in the morning light.

There aren't an abundance of crane flies this spring so far; maybe it's been too dry.  I've had to water established shrubs with wilting new growth, and new plantings require every other day ministrations lately.  There's nothing like rain to stimulate soil life; the Cimis station in Irvine has recorded 3/4" Oct, 1.4" Nov, 1/4" Dec, 3/4" in Jan, 3/4" Feb, nothing since 2/27.

I'm grateful for the crane fly there is.  Why are there sowbugs?


Country Mouse said...

I had to look at this post. In Glasgow where I grew up these were plentiful and we called them daddy-long-legs and they scared the bejeezus out of me. I still don't like them hovering around indoors. But I've changed my tune about insects. However insect books I've got at home are generally very dull, and also badly written. I'm going to explore your resources to look for better ways to get a handle on insects - couple posts ago I wrote about watching what visited the ceanothus, and the difficulty I have learning about insects - so now I'm following your blog and hope to learn some more! Thanks for visiting our blog and reminding me about yours!

vanessa cardui said...

My grandmother came from Glasgow in the early 20th century. She never mentioned insects, unfortunately.

Dull insect book? Never met one! I just finished reading Life on a Little-Known Planet by Howard E. Evans. Written in the 60s, though parts are a bit dated, it still rings with one entomologist's appreciation of the six-legged among us.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the book review. I always like the buggy ones.

I use Field Guide to Insects and Spiders of North America by Arthur E. Evans - Tons of interesting info in it.
Wonder if the authors are related.


vanessa cardui said...

Before the blossoming of insect ID resources online I used Hogue's "Insects of the Los Angeles Basin". I liked Dr. Hogue's writing which illustrated his personal familiarity with the species. Also it's great to have a resource for ID that is specific to your locale; really helps narrow the field down.