Phantom Crane Fly

This piece is based on a photo of a Phantom Crane Fly taken by William Hull at a sphagnum bog at the base of an old sandstone quarry in Pike County, Ohio (If you click on the image, it should come up full-size). At some point, a portion of the quarry site was colonized by sphagnum. A number of other interesting plants and animals have followed over the years, including a nice array of different species of beetles, damselflies, and dragonflies, among many others, and, of course, the Phantom Crane Fly, Bittacomorpha clavipes. The black and white markings on this particular species make it seem as if the insect is flickering as it helicopters and floats about the vegetation. Here, it's momentarly hanging on a sedge.

Bogs are rare treasures in Ohio. Here's a link to a paper titled Development of a Sphagnum Bog on the Floor of a Sandstone Quarry in Northeastern Ohio, which discusses the formation and composition of a bog in Portage County that possibly developed in a manner similar to the Pike County site.

There are a number of interesting photos at William Hull's website,, including a large and excellent collection of photographs of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and damselflies by Hull and other contributors. One can spend a lot of time studying the critter photos on the site.