Monday, January 26, 2015

Crane Fly - A Postscript

Good friend John at Avithera caught my Crane Fly entry the other day and emailed me a picture of a Welcome Swallow with said invertebrates in its bill. The bird was on the way to its nest and the Crane Flies were on their way to becoming a meal.

A good example of part of a food chain in action.

Great shot too, thanks JH.

PS: Another wonderful Gippsland nature blog has materialised on the www. Welcome to Craig at Wild South East. Check it out – more great fodder for passionate nature lovers to devour.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Crane Fly

On several of my recent and frequent visits to Nangara Reserve at Jindivick, I have disturbed clouds of Crane Flies in the moist understory. Mostly I’ve been chasing some other poor subject for my camera and when I have had a half-hearted go at snapping a Crane Fly it would never sit still long enough.

I managed to track one down the other day and got a couple of acceptable images – while it was stuck in a super-fine spider web!
Cop those super long antennae.
Some Crane Fly facts …
  •   The family Tipulidae is the largest family in the Diptera group - thousands of species.
  •   The larvae may thrive in a wide variety of habitats, water, wet soil, moss beds, dead logs, even dry earth.
  • Crane Flies are closely related to mosquitoes but do not drink blood.
  • Their adult stage may only last a few days during which they do not eat.
  • One common name is the very obvious Daddy-long-legs.
  • In the larval form they feed on detritus and break down organic matter – they are decomposers.
  • In larval and adult form they are an important food item for many other species – birds, frogs, fish, spiders, etc and other insects.
  • Fisherman like to use larval and adult Crane Flies for bait and lures.
  • As larvae, some Crane Flies can be a pest in turf grass and crop situations.
The long legs are principally for clinging to vegetation rather than for walking.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Teeming Tea Tree

Over at Ben Crauchan, DF recently recorded some of the bountiful invertebrates that visit Bursaria sp. at this time of year. Whilst the Bursaria is abundant in this area too at the moment, I discovered a similar event on the Prickly Tea Tree at Nangara Reserve.

I ticked more or less the same suite of species as Duncan …

Large Greenbottle? Chrsomya rufifacies.

Spotted Flower Chafer? Polystigma punctata

White-spotted Pintail Beetle? Hoshihananomia leucosticta.

While so gainfully employed, I became aware of a deep bzzz-bzzz-bzzz and the sky went dark, (well, in my imagination anyhow), and this large hairy-a..sed blowy landed nearby.

One of the Tachinid Fly family - I think? Rutilia sp perhaps?

The order Diptera, (Flies), is a large order. Then there are suborders, families, subfamilies, tribes, genus, sections, series, species, subspecies and variety, huh! I couldn't find the name Large black H-A Blowy in any of that!?