Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Phanton Cranefly - Bittacomorpha clavipes

Phanton Cranefly - Bittacomorpha clavipes
Near Ruraldale, Upshur County, West Virginia, USA
August 6, 2004
It is a real treat to see these guys fly. For one thing, they flatten their legs out so they are flying all in one plane. For another, the plane they are in is not parallel to the ground as one might expect, but is perpendicular to the ground. They look like a snowflake!

The black and white banding on their legs provides some camouflage protection that wouldn't be present if they had all-black legs. As you see them flying, you squint and try to figure out what you are seeing. Parts of their legs have vanished as they disappear into the background.