Mating Crane Flies from India and Mating relatives from Taiwan

Insect to be identified
Location:  Mumbai, India
September 30, 2010 1:43 am
I just caught these insects mating (I guess) I am unable to identify these insects. I have uploaded couple of pictures which would help.
Thank you and Reagrds
Signature:  Mahesh F. Pardesi

Crane Flies Mating

Dear Mahesh,
Your photos of mating Crane Flies in the family Tipulidae are stunning.  This is a beautiful pair of insects.  The male has the feathery antennae.  We don’t know how much species information we would be able to find for Asian species, so we are going to contact an expert in the family for assistance.  We generally search the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania for North American species, and Dr. Chen Young of Carnegie Museum of Natural History assists us when we have problems.  Hopefully he will be able to provide a species name for us.

Mating Crane Flies

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for taking out time and replying my mail.
Atleast I know now that these are Crane Fly.
Would be eager to know the Species.
Thank You again.
Mahesh F. Pardesi

Karl Unearths the Answer
Hi Daniel and Mahesh
These crane flies are so lovely that I couldn’t resist looking for more information. The species appears to be Pselliophora laeta (Tipulidae: Ctenophorinae). I could find only the one photo online but I did also find a matching illustration in a very old paper titled “Dipteres Exotiques Nouveaux” by M.J. Macquart (1837). It was presented under an older synonym, Ctenophora laeta. The wing pattern is very distinctive. According to Oosterbroek et al. (2006) the Ctenophorinae are all more or less spectacular and many resemble ichneumons or wasps. The comb-like antennae of the males are also distinctive. Ctenophorinae larvae all develop in decaying wood of deciduous trees and usually require old forest or orchard habitat. The genus Pselliophora is predominantly oriental in distribution and includes nearly a hundred species (so it is possible that these belong to a related and similar species). Regards. Karl

Dr. Chen Young responds
October 6, 2010
Hi Daniel,
I sent the following message on 30 of September but was rejected due to your mailbox was full.  I am forwarding it again and hope you will get it this time.

September 30, 2010
Dear Daniel,
Thanks for the image and I am so glad to see the mating pair.  As you may know by now that I am out of the museum and doing field research in Asia and your image really made my day since I have just seen one species of crane fly in the same group as the iamge you sent.
The crane fly of your image belong to Ctenophora (Pselliophora) group.  I dont know the species for sure but I will look into it after I return to the museum where I will have references that I can check into.  I am attaching one image of the one from Taiwan for your reference and you can also see the similarity they share.  I schedule to return on the 22 of October and I will contact you soon after.

Mating Crane Flies from Taiwan

Thanks so much Chen,
We really appreciate you taking the time to resend this email while you are in the field.  We are pleased to include your image of a mating related pair from Taiwan with the original posting.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you for the wonderful explanations forwarded by you Daniel. Still curious to know the species name.
Warm Regards,
Mahesh F. Pardesi

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