Saturday, July 17, 2010

giant western crane fly ~ 07/17/10 ~ at home

giant western crane fly
Holorusia hespera

Enormous might be a better common name descriptor for this crane fly. Powell and Hogue state this is one of the world's largest flies and I believe it. Compared to my uncertainty over my other crane fly post, I'm positive about this ID. The outdated name is H. rubiginosa. The larvae apparently get up to 2 1/2 inches in length - phew!

In an effort to capture a sense of scale with a ruler, I used the ol' fridge trick to get her to "calm down" enough to take a picture. That's how I was able to get a picture of her belly in the third pic. No worries, I let her go outside when I was done as evidenced with my last pic above... but only after I chased her around my living room ceiling with my wide-mouthed jar and a chair. I learned from my disastrous moth release = bird food episode and let this beauty go at night. Interesting to note, as she was warming up, her halteres started vibrating so rapidly that I couldn't see them. Then her 2 wings started going and she took flight. It reminded me of one of those high-tech military helicopters.

As a side comment, relative size is often a difficult thing to grasp in pictures when it's a solo or close-up shot... I particularly like these two blog posts that did a great job at showing size:
Norfolk Wildlife - marbled beauty
Ohio Birds and Biodiversity - ruby-throated hummingbird's nest (check out the 4th picture!!!)