Currently viewing the tag: "snow bugs"

unknown insect
Mon, Dec 29, 2008 at 8:07 AM
I don’t even know what order to start searching. On a winter day (30degreesF) I found this insect crawling on the sidewalk near the entrance to a storage area in our nature center. I had just been in the storage area so it is possible that I displaced it from the heated area into the cold. It caught my eye because a.) it was a bug crawling around on a cold winter day, b.) it looked/moved like a spider but wasn’t. As you can see from the photos, its about 1/4 inch long, not including legs. Also, it occasionally pulled its legs in very tight to its body in a posture that seemed defensive. I was unable to get a photo of that because it never stayed that way for long.
Thanks for your awesome website. You might want to create some forum/support group for WTB addicts like me who check your site 3 times a day.
Northern Indiana

Wingless Winter Crane Fly

Wingless Winter Crane Fly

Hi Vince,
Thanks so much for your kind letter. We were a bit stumped by this image as well, so we contacted Eric Eaton before posting. Here is what we wrote to Eric and how he responded
Hi Eric,
I didn’t want to appear to be a total moron on this one, so I didn’t
want to post it until I contacted you. It sure looks like a fly to me, possibly
a type of crane fly, but I’m not having any luck with the ID. Can you

Wingless Winter Crane Fly

Wingless Winter Crane Fly

Oh, wow, what a cool find! This is a wingless crane fly, probably in the genus Chionea (known as snow flies). We could use this image over at Bugguide where Chen Young could probably ID it to species.
P.S. insects can make a moron out of ANYBODY! LOL!

So Vince,
We are hoping you will post these images to BugGuide as well and we will contact Dr. Chen Young at the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website to see if he can provide a species identification. He may also request permission to post your images.

Vince wrote back, but we missed it
I found it…
Tue, Dec 30, 2008 at 7:05 AM
Yesterday I sent a pic of a mystery insect. Later in the day, after emails to entomologists around the world, I found out that the insect is a wingless snowfly. It’s related to craneflies and is in the genus Chionea. Here are two good links about snowflies:
and one more picture, with the brightness enhanced.
Northern Indiana
Thanks a million. Check your INBOX for a follow up submission I sent. I was able to ID it, and found some links to some good info on it. I’ll be sure to contact Eric Eaton and Dr. Young about it.
As a naturalist, I do school programs and public programs for thousands of people every year. Insects are my favorite topic and whenever I do an insect program I am sure to tell people about your website.
Keep up the good work.

what’s this bug?
We were interested to see a couple of this bug crawling on top of the snow on March 15 near Niagara Falls Ontario in a provincial park where there are horseback riders and dog walkers. Is it a common insect?
Nancy Cook

Hi Nancy,
Winter Stoneflies, known as Snowflies, are not rare, but are very seasonal. They are one of the few insects that are active when there is still snow on the ground.

bug identification
Attached is a picture of a bug that we are seeing on wintery sunny days on the outside and a few inside our house. It has wings, but does not fly. We live in a woody area in CT. We have also have had an increase of ladybugs and houseflies recently. Thank you

This is a Winter Stonefly in the family Capniidae. According to BugGuide there are 151 [identified] species in North America in 10 genera, and the: “family is distributed throughout much of North America but many species have restricted geographic ranges, and are endemic to relatively small areas.” They are also called Snowflies.

Glacier insect
Aloha Bug-people:
Thanks again for the help with the Passionvine Hopper nymph last year. I have another mystery. Attached image is of an insect found while trekking on top of the Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina. Length about 3/4 inch. Our guide told us these were discovered on the glacier, but he did not know a name for them. Searched your site of course, but the only thing with a similar structure was a Timema. I have read that sprintails have been known to live on glaciers as well, but they are much smaller to my knowledge. Sorry for the poor image. Had to shoot handheld without my tripod, and the little guy was moving. Kind regards,
Don Brown

Hi Don,
This looks like a Snowfly, a group of Stoneflies in the family Capniidae, the Small Winter Snowflies. Some are winged and some are not.

Bugs seen only in Winter snow
Hello Bugman,
My son is very interested in identifying a bug that we see each winter in the snow. I have attached two pictures – one against a ruler. The insect has 6 legs, two long antenna and two things off the back (two tails?). It’s approx. 1/2 inch in length. Please help!
Thanks – Kevin and Stephen Crowley

Dear Crowleys,
We are always very excited to get new species for our site, but even more excited to get new families. This is a type of Stonefly, Order Plecoptera, known as the Snowfly or Winter Stonefly, Family Capniidae, probably the genus Allocapnia. We located photos on Bugguide, but there wasn’t much information, so we decided to search further. Sadly our search was in vain as there seem to be photos and maps, but not much in the way of text. If you find any additional links, perhaps you can contact us with the information.

I found a website with some further information on stoneflies. I hope this helps.