Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A spring cranefly - Dicranomyia chorea

Right on cue for the first day of spring I discovered a freshly emerged, male short-palped cranefly on the moss on the top of Butterfly Rock. The pupal exuvia can be seen in one of the pictures above protruding from the moss just to the left of the wing tips.

After it had hardened its exoskeleton it started to move around and eventually settled on a grass blade beside the rock.

This sandstone rock has now been in situ for just under two years. It quickly developed a carpet of moss and lichen on its bare top and, earlier this year, this was thick enough to support some small vascular plants. Now an insect has completed its development in the moss - only two years from bare stone to invertebrate life.

The rock has also developed a cordon of plants around its perimeter that do not grow elsewhere in Emthree. I strongly suspect they arise from seeds brought in by birds who must also deliver a fair quantity of fertiliser that washes off with the seeds.

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