by Patrick Kavanagh
The invertebrate life in our garden at Strangways is really starting to heat up with the onset of spring. As I was prowling for subjects I was delighted to see numerous Crane Flies wafting through the Cassinia and Golden Everlastings. Most kept floating from perch to perch, but one stayed still enough for some macro shots. It looks very like the last one I photographed in Oct 2010, a Long Black-nosed Crane Fly.
Reading about the lifestyle of these insects, it struck me as no coincidence that the months are the same and both seasons characterised by lots of rain. The adults, according to my reading, don’t eat, but the female will lay her eggs in wet moss, damp soil or water – hence not many photos of these on the hard Strangways hills in the dry years. The larvae will feed on rotting vegetation. Those long legs apparently are not for walking, but for hanging from vegetation. Perch might not be quite the right word. The photos show how, as with all fly species, the hind wings are reduced to club-like halteres which aid flight stability and agility.
The other little coincidence of note is that the very day I took these shots, there was an article in the Age about a researcher, Gunther Theischinger, discovering a virtually wingless Crane Fly species in Kosciuszko National Park. The male of this species has an unusual forked penis.