Crane Fly with Oval Wings

2014 October 22

This leggy crane fly is also from the September 8, 2013 porch-lighting. It is medium-sized as crane flies go, as we can see by comparing it to my fingertip.

It is somewhat unusual in that it has very oval-shaped wings that it folded over its back, giving it a pear-shaped appearance (and unfortunately also made it very difficult to distinguish the wing veins, which are key ID features for crane flies).

It also had an unusual pose, with its abdomen strongly arched and its wings held up at an angle from its body.

Sometimes, a characteristic pose is a useful ID feature. But, considering that I’ve seen mating crane fly pairs where one had the wings spread while the other had them folded, even though they were clearly the same species, I’m not sure that the resting pose means much for crane flies.

But anyway, here’s a side shot showing its lovely iridescent eye.

It looks like it has maybe 11-12 antenna segments, which according to The Crane Flies of Pennsylvania would suggest that it is one of the Tipulinae. Going through the page to see if I could find a match for the resting pose, the closest one I can find is this one, which it says is Tipula (Platytipula) ultima[1], a “conspicuous autumnal crane fly”, which would match the time of year I found this one. So, I’ll provisionally go with that ID unless someone tells me differently. I really wish I could see the wing veins, though.

[1] This is read as Genus: Tipula; subgenus: Platytipula; species: ultima. The Tipula genus evidently got so large and unwieldy that the taxonomists wanted to break it up a bit more.

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