Wingless Winter Crane Fly or Snow Fly

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.

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