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 The outdated name is H. rubiginosa.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!!!)


Anonymous said...

We get a TON of these monsters skittering the outside walls of our house and in our courtyard, they crack me up. Somehow they never make it indoors, which is a mixed blessing: they are ideal cat toys but I think our cats would go INSANE and probably destroy the house chasing one!!!

Orchids and Nature said...

The common name for our Crane Fly over here in Northern England is ... Daddy Longlegs.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

We just had one of these behemoths in the house last night. Managed to catch it and release it outside this morning. We'd had a bat (California myotis) stuck in the house for the last week too, I swear this thing looked bigger flying around than the bat did! :P (Managed to finally catch the bat this morning too...and release him). Joys of living in the woods!

Nature ID said...

Janet, I hate to say it, but crane flies do make entertaining cat toys.

David, funny how several things with long legs are called Daddy Longlegs. Here that common name is for a spider and/or an opiliones. Hey, check out my first orchid post above! I think you'll like it.

Curbstone, my pics don't do this thing justice. With its legs, it was easily bigger than the palm of my hand. Do you have pics of your bat?

Matthew said...

Another of the legions of the night.