In a stump, flies, mates. What is it?
Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 4:25 PM
My wife and I have a really decayed stump that we are planing on removing and planting a garden over. So I decided to kick it a bit to see how easy it would be to remove. It crumbled very easily (as does the ground around it where the roots have rotted) but a bunch of these bugs flew out. Well, they hovered because they were busy mating, ends stuck together and flew awkwardly around.
The bugs themselves are dark brown with light yellowish markings. The karings are kinda stripey down the abdomen and a blotch on either side of the thorax. The head looks tiny and curled under the round thorax. I caught a mating pair, one has what looks like a stinger, but I think I know what it really is *winks*. They are about an inch long, with thin long smoke colored wings.
What a wonderful account of the mating activity of these Crane Flies. We believe they are Ctenophora vittata – Ctenophora angustipennis as evidenced by the images posted to BugGuide. The “stinger” is actually the ovipositor, and it is the female that is in possession of it. We are going to contact Chen Young at the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website to see if he can elaborate on the mating activity you witnessed. Our guess is that these adults are newly emerged. Adult Crane Flies don’t feed, so they don’t live long anyways. The larvae, sometimes called Leatherjackets, eat decaying organic material, and perhaps they were in the stump as larvae. We are also going to tag your images Bug Love despite the mating activity being observed and not documented.