What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wingless Crane Fly?
Location:  Wrightwood, California
March 17, 2015
Found this guy in Wrightwood, California about a week ago.   It moved like a spider but when I picked it up I realized it was not!   It looked line a crane fly to me and a search for “wingless crane fly” brought me to Whatsthatbug..  Most of the images I have seen here and elsewhere  are of much heavier bodied examples with much thicker legs.  I have not found one that looks like this anywhere else but I am fairly sure it is a crane fly.    I’m hoping you’ll find this one as interesting as my son and I did.

I really hope you guys see this.  With all the web resources out there (often your website) I am still stumped!  I have not been able to find an image of anything quite like this.  I am certain it’s a crane fly but all the wingless crane flies I can find online are very grizzly looking.  This one is much different.
Sorry for the filthy hands, we were repairing a sprinkler system.

Wingless Insect

Wingless Crane Fly

Dear Kevin,
Thanks for resending this interesting request.  We went back through our unanswered mail and we could not locate your original submission, which is very curious.  Zooming in on your excellent image, we do not believe the antennae and mouthparts are those of a Crane Fly.  It reminds us more of a member of the order Mecoptera, the Scorpionflies.  We are going to seek some additional opinions, including Eric Eaton and Crane Fly expert Chen Young.

Wingless Insect

Wingless Crane Fly

Dr. Chen Young identifies Crane Fly
Hi Daniel,
Yes, it is a crane fly and it is a male crane fly, thus it is probably not in the family Tipulidae, instead it is in the family Limoniidae.  I sure wish I could get a small part of his leg and run a DNA sequence (just a wish till I move to CA).

Close up of curious winged insect

Close up of Wingless Crane Fly

Kevin sends a tardy response:  May 12, 2015
Thanks very much for this.  And sorry for the late response, I replied just after seeing that Dr. Chen gave an ID but I found the reply group of emails in my outbox that never actually sent.  I was very happy to see the crane fly posted and identified.  I wish I could have provided Dr. Chen what he needed for a DNA sequence.  That would have been extra cool.  Thanks again for your fantastic site!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Wrightwood, California

3 Responses to Wingless Crane Fly from California

  1. Thanks for identifying and posting our bug!

  2. Shaun says:

    I’m homeless and living in Hesperia for the winter. Now that things are warming up (March) I’m seeing the exact same insect, males and females crawling all over the high desert landscape, including on me, which is annoying. I suspected wingless cranefly as well. Is this a truly wi gless species or will it develop wings at some point? What’s the binomial?

    • bugman says:

      Wingless Crane Flies will not grow wings. Binomial is a two part name (genus and species) that uniquely identifies each and every life form on the plant. The binomial for humans is Homo sapiens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *