You have one of my all-time favorite sites on the internet. I really appreciate what you guys do.
I’m attaching two pictures of a large insect that appears to me to be a kind of crane fly. I couldn’t locate one on your site (though I know I may have just overlooked it), and tried a few others before sending it to you. I found it on our back door in north-central Arkansas at the beginning of October, 2008. Excluding the legs, its body was a good 5 centimeters long. Its antennae are interestingly-segmented, and its oversize thorax really caught my attention. I’d love it if you have the time ID this one for me.
Batesville, Arkansas, USA
We believe your Crane Fly is a Giant Crane Fly, Tipula abdominalis. We searched the best Crane Fly identification site, the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania, and located it, and the double checked on BugGuide. According to BugGuide, the: “large size coupled with black velvety patches on thorax is diagnostic feature.” The Crane Flies of Pennsylvania site indicates: “The largest crane fly in the state of Pennsylvania, the adult of this species has a brownish gray thorax with a velvety black area on the dorsal side. The abdomen is orange with a black line on the side, and the posterior end of the abdomen is black. The wings are semitransparent with several brown areas along the front edge. The females reach about 40 mm in size, while the males are slightly smaller. The larvae of this species are aquatic and among the largest and most common aquatic invertebrates in streams of wooded areas, and are sought out as bait for fish. Larvae feed on decomposing leaves, thus playing an important role of breaking down organic matter in the water. Two generations occur, more numerous in late summer than in spring.”