Another “Today” today, due to technical problems. I was out most of yesterday afternoon running errands in town (a task that seems to suck up most of a day without any trouble at all, as what should reasonably take less than three hours ends up taking over five – time must stretch in Kingston) and when I returned home, the internet was not working. Well, as I’m sure everyone can sympathize, trying to troubleshoot computer problems can take a while. I did finally get it working again this morning, but only after reinstalling the program (which, it turned out, had mysteriously disappeared). This afternoon was spent checking out my parents’ soon-to-be new digs, so no time for a full post tonight, either.
Time for a short one, though. This evening I discovered this guy resting on the wall beside the door. I suspect it’s the same one that startled Blackburnian yesterday and then disappeared. Although it looks like a giant mosquito, and looks rather creepy, it’s not, and it’s harmless. It’s a Crane Fly, a member of the family Tipulidae. The Kaufman guide to insects notes, “Often abundant, and extremely diverse, they are impossible for anyone but an expert to identify beyond the family level.” Well. Should I not even bother trying, then? Still, those wings ought to be distinctive, such bold patterns and bright (for a crane fly) colours. And the size. This is easily the largest crane fly I’ve ever seen, a couple inches across from leg to leg.
Sure enough, a search for “giant crane fly” on BugGuide.net turns up several photos of my bug in the results. It’s a Giant Eastern Crane Fly, Pedicia albivitta. It’s found through most of the northeast, south to North Carolina and west to Minnesota, so strange that I haven’t encountered it before (a little like the millipedes, I suppose). The larvae are aquatic and predaceous, feeding on small invertebrates. Adults are seen in two distinct flight periods, one in the spring and one in the fall. They also come to artificial light. Guess we’ll be seeing a lot of them!