Subject: Winged insect above snow in mid-February in NH
Location: New London, NH
February 22, 2014 1:51 pm
We were snowshoeing on a trail in New London, NH, on 22 Feb 2014 when we came upon a small swarm of this insect, about a foot above the snow (three feet of snow pack). It wad the warmest day in months, about 44F. As we watched them, they all settled onto the snow and I took a few pictures of one.
Signature: M Wms.
Dear M Wms.
This appears to be some species of fly with two wings, and it resembles a Crane Fly, and there is a genus of Crane Flies found in the snow known as Snow Flies, but they are wingless. We also located and extensive page on Hiking With Chuck that has images that look identical to your fly, and interestingly, they were taken in Arethusa Falls as well as Mine Falls Park in New Hampshire. All the photos are dated 2007. We have tried contacting Chen Young and Eric Eaton to see if they have any ideas.
Thank you. “Naturalist Guy” Kenneth Barnett (on Facebook) said it was a snow fly, but this one definitely had wings and they are functional. I’m inclined to think Chuck is right and it’s a winter crane fly. Bug Guide (http://bugguide.net/node/view/8522) photos of the winter crane flies look right, too.
I appreciate your contacting Eric (whom I’ve contacted before about some bugs) and Chen Young; let me know if you learn any more.
~ Molly Williams
Thanks so much for providing the BugGuide link. The Winter Crane Flies in the family Trichoceridae, not to be confused with the wingless Crane Flies known as Snow Flies in the genus Chionea, look correct to us. Both are contained in the infraorder Tipulomorpha along with other Crane Flies. We will let you know if we hear back from Eric or Chen.
Dr. Chen Young confirms identity of Winter Crane Fly
A winter crane fly of the family Trichoceridae.
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