Subject: Bug with eggs
Location: East Haddam, CT, USA
May 28, 2012 1:33 pm
Hi, this guy was photographed around May 20 in Conn. USA, an inch or so across. I am also wondering if those are wasp parasite eggs, or if she carries her own eggs on her back!
The other, the butterfly, pic taken about the same day, same place.
Signature: Dan

Crane Fly with Mites

Hi Dan,
The photo that you thought was an insect with wasp eggs is a Crane Fly and it is carrying Phoretic Mites.  Mites cannot fly, and they have evolved a behavior, known as phoresy, which allows them to move to new food sources.  Phoretic Mites attach themselves to flying insects and when they reach a suitable habitat, they drop off.  Here is a photo from BugGuide of a Crane Fly that is covered with Phoretic Mites.  We will try to identify the Crane Fly species.  The butterfly is a Red Spotted Purple.

Red Spotted Purple

Wow, that is amazing that you got back to me so fast, on Memorial Day, yet!
Get back out there to your picnic LOL!
That is fascinating about the Crane Fly, I thought that was what it was but I
had never seen the “eggs” before so I had no idea they were actually mites.
A Red Spotted Purple, not too imaginative with the name, but sure is lovely!
thanks again,

Location: Connecticut

7 Responses to Crane Fly with Mites and Red Spotted Purple

  1. I just took a picture of a crane fly at work

    • Jo Zee says:

      That’s amazing Kari, what kind of a job do they do? I’ve never seen one do anything but sit there 🙂

  2. Diane Brooks says:

    Actually I don’t think the red things are phoretic mites. I believe they’re the larval stage of the Velvet Mite (family Trombidiidae) and they’re feeding on the cranefly. They can usually be found on craneflies, grasshoppers, spiders, harvestmen and leafhoppers.

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