Pale Green Gnat and Crane Fly

2014 December 20

In addition to the moths, a fair number of other things came to the porch light on June 1, 2014. While this little gnat and much larger crane fly have similar coloration, they aren’t closely related.

The green gnat is probably one of the Chironomid midges, possibly one of the ones in the genus Parachironomus

The gnat is probably more closely related to this similar-sized gnat (found at the light at the same time) than it is to the crane fly. This gnat may be much darker in color (making it much clearer in photographs), but it has the same sort of very elongated front legs.

The green Crane Fly, on the other hand, is likely to be Erioptera chlorophylla, which I gather is the only crane fly this color that we are likely to have locally. Although, the specimen that we caught earlier was much brigher green, so maybe it is some other crane fly species. Or maybe there is just a fair bit of color variation.

I expect that the gnat and the crane fly are both green for the same reason (to blend in with the grass), but since their last common ancestor was most likely brown like most other crane flies and midges, they probably evolved their coloration independently.

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