Thursday, March 11, 2010

Agulla sp.
Order Neuroptera > Suborder Raphidiodea

Every spring I find at least one or two snakeflies resting in the early morning on our balcony. They never seem too eager to fly away; maybe it's chilly out for them or they're still groggy from a previous day's activities. I scooped this one up in my favorite flat container with plans to look at him under my dissecting scope and test whether a decent e-picture can be had through a scope lens. I kept him for a couple hours in the office until the sun came up, but he escaped through a miniscule hole in the container and promptly sat next to my computer. Unfortunately, the morning got away from me and I settled for taking a pic on a sheet of white paper as the sun was rising. I especially like the prehistoric-looking shadow in the second picture. I let him go, but by late afternoon, this fellow was back on the office window looking in on me when I returned to my computer.

Wikipedia says they are now in its own Order, but I'm old school and still consider it a neuropteran, aka nerve-winged insects. Jerry Powell and Charles Hogue state there are at least a dozen species in CA.

ps 04/07/10 - For a truth in advertising confession, the last pic was actually from the early morning (as evidenced by the direction of lighting) and not in the late afternoon. For a pic of another snakefly sighting, see today's post.

pss 03/25/11 - I spotted my first snake fly this year on our balcony today. Simply recording my observations.


Captain Shagrat said...

That second shadow shot looks like a tiny dinasaur, good capture

Nature ID said...

Thanks! I like your blog.

Country Mouse said...

I'm pretty sure I've seen these ?? But I also see winged termites and they look a bit like that. I am not so great about following up on inect IDs. Oh, I see you've posted about pelicans - my favorite. I'm going to check that out. BTW I'd love a dissecting scope too - maybe for my birthday!

Nature ID said...

Hi, Country Mouse. Thanks for letting me know about Wilder Ranch's Fern Grotto! I have pics of 2 different birds that were chattering away on the beach, but I haven't been able to identify them enough to post here.

Winged termites are peculiar because all 4 wings are about the same size and shape, thus the name Isoptera (equal winged). They're easy to identify once you know, because at rest their wings all overlap and lay *flat* over the abdomen. This site has great pictures of termites:

The snakefly holds its wings in a tent-like fashion over it's abdomen, hence why the shadow pic was so great. They're closely related to lacewings.

Jeannette said...

You've made a friend!

Nature ID said...

Jeannette, are you talking about the snakefly or you? I think our paths have crossed. Do you ever attend the Williams' Easter festivities in the Highlands?

Ann said...

Wow, Katie! What a wealth of information and the photos are wonderful. Looking forward to seeing you soon! :-) Ann