Yikes – So Many Crane Flies!
With all of the rain that we had this past winter came crane flies (their larvae, for the most part, feed on moist dead plant matter). Seems that anywhere you look, there they are. Crane flies are in the family Tipulidae, one of the largest fly groups in the world consisting of over 15,000 species. Under the right conditions their populations can explode, which has happened in the GNG.
In the cropped-in photo below, you can see a pair of small club-like appendages just behind where the wing connects to the thorax. These important organs are called halters. Halters can be found on all flies and are used to collect important information relating the individual's flight.
Fortunately for us (not for them), many animals like to eat these large fling insects and are now taking advantage of the bounty.