This month we have shared Point Roadnight with a male Australian Fur Seal, Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus.
It has been coming in each morning and resting in one of the rocky hollows out on the point. As reported by Paul Wright, the seal seems to be in good health weight wise; however, it did have some damage to its lower jaw.
Australian Fur Seal
Its presence and condition was reported to the marine rescue unit based at the zoo who sent someone to check on the animal. Its health continues to be monitored.
As you walk through the bush and look under the plants in a shady patch on a warm summer’s day you may come across what looks like a giant mosquito, with long legs. Don’t be fearful, these are harmless Crane Flies that once they have emerged in their adult form have no mouth parts and cannot bite anyone.
Painted Crane Fly
Crane Flies are from the fly family Tipulidae. There are many sub-families and species which range in size, colour and pattern. I have found approximately six species in Anglesea and surrounding areas. Some seem to be nocturnal and others diurnal, some communal and others quite solitary.
Ornate Crane Fly
While they may look like giant mosquitoes, they do not feed on blood. They are long-legged and long-winged with a slender body and they do not feed once in the adult stage.
Dolichopeza sp unable to support body weight
Crane Fly are often called 'Daddy-long-legs' because of their long, thin legs spanning up to 70 mm. These legs are quite weak and are not for walking but for hanging from plants. They are not particularly good fliers— their hind wings have reduced to club-shaped halteres, characteristic of flies, which acts more as gyroscopic balance much like in a helicopter to help them stabilise when flying.
Detail of rear club-shaped halteres
Crane Fly larvae of most of the species live in fresh water, damp soil or rotting plants. They feed on decaying aquatic and vegetable matter.
Typically, the Crane Fly females are much larger than the males, like many flies. They have relatively good eyesight and will often take off as you approach them. On the hotter summer days, you can often find one of the smaller species which has been named the Spider-web Crane Fly in and around your house because they hang in dense clusters from the spider webs under the windows and ceiling. They are not caught in the webs and easily fly off if disturbed.
Spider-web Crane Fly
Below are pictures of the two smaller Winter Crane Flies, Trichoceridae sp and Dicranomyia spp.
Winter Crane Fly, Trichoceridae sp
Winter Crane Fly, Dicranomyia
They look like a predatory Scorpion Fly, which does have feeding mouth parts and, with their specialised clasping feet for grasping their prey, are often mistaken for Crane Flies.
Scorpion Fly with prey
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.