Saturday, June 23, 2012

Phantoms at Mountain Lakes

A close look reveals a Phantom Crane Fly (Bittacomorpha clavipes), clinging to a tiny bit of dead grass above a rivulet of water. In preparation for my nature walk tomorrow, I was exploring the backside of the lower dam at Mountain Lakes today, hoping that the renovation of the dam hadn't blocked a seepage that in years past had fed a wetland just below the dam.

Sure enough, the spring still flows, and above its steady trickle of water hovered magical-looking creatures the size of a silver dollar. When they fly, their legs remain extended, on a plane perpendicular to the ground. The effect is not unlike a sideways version of the woodsprites in Avatar, the "Atokirinas".

1 comment:

  1. as per the internet: "The crane fly is sometimes called 'mosquito hawk' or 'mosquito lion.' Despite this ferocious name, it does not actually eat mosquitoes. Occasionally, its larvae will feed on mosquito larvae. Crane fly larvae mostly feed on roots of forage crops, turf grasses and seedling field crops.

    An adult crane fly hardly eats at all. Once in a while, it might lap up a bit of pollen or sugar-rich plant nectar." Different sources say different thins- several say that the adults do not eat at all.