Thursday, December 30, 2010

Winter Crane Fly

Today (30 December 2010), our second day above freezing (40 degrees F), I was surprised to see two dozen small, blackish "bugs" flying about the side of the house and landing on the ice dam along the edge of the roof. Pat Beauzay writes, "Nice find!  This is a winter crane fly species (Diptera: Trichoceridae), probably the genus Trichocera, though I would need the specimen to determine its identity. I collected Trichocera sp. one month ago on a mild day at the MSU-Moorhead Science Center. Trichocera is a widespread Holarctic genus, with 27 species in North America. They can be an important winter food source for birds. Here is a link to an image on "

They must be short-lived, as more typical Minnesota weather is quickly approaching...  According to Seabrooke Leckie, the larvae are scavengers, primarily of decaying vegetation. Adults overwinter in logs or cozy nooks and crannies, and in the spring males will hang about in mating swarms in front of caves or hollow trees.

1 comment:

  1. Nice, my co-worker found some on Wednesday as well while we were teaching kids a winter survival class. Talk about a winter survivor!