top of page



I was not exactly pleased to find out it was my turn to study a creature from the Black Forest. There is absolutely nothing more unsettling or unpleasant than having to stare into the dark depths of those woods.

Unwilling to spend any more time than I had to out by the outskirts, I decided to study the ghostfly, a common insect of the Black Forest. However, there was a clear downside to picking the ghostfly - it's only active at night. Still, I preferred tracking a creature that I could be absolutely certain I would be able to find rather than something that could cause me to spend more than just a few nights next to those infernal, unnatural woods.

Admittedly, I was worried that I may be punished for my cowardice and the ghostflies would not show up just to spite me, but as soon as the sun had completely set they appeared with their characteristic soft white glow to start their evening routines.

Ghostflies most closely resemble the common dragonfly in their morphology - round head, long body, and four wings. They are also quite similar in size with their bodies typically around 2" (5 cm) long and their wings spanning approximately 3.5" (8.9 cm) across. However, there are quite a few key differences between them.

For starters, their wings are quite different than a dragonfly's. While in flight, they appear similar - four long, narrow wings spread perpendicular to the body - however, their shape, texture, and how they attach to the body are more similar to a moth. Unlike a dragonfly whose wings are statically positioned, the ghostfly's wings have the ability to close and spread. They also have subtle intricate designs on them that seem to be unique to each individual ghostfly. Furthermore, ghostflies actually have six "wings", though two of them are more akin to backwards facing antenna that are attached just below the other four wings and extend a little past the length of the body. They are very thin, only widening slightly at the tips into teardrop shapes, and can only spread in a limited degree. I am unsure of the exact purpose of these peculiar wings, but if I were to hypothesize, I would assume it aids them in their unnerving style of flying.

Before I go further into the morphology, I feel the need to describe the ghostfly's flight. One would expect them to move in a similar way to a dragonfly or perhaps a hummingbird, but this is not the case at all. Instead, they almost seem to "float" . It is this strange form of locomotion combined with their white and silver colouring and haunting glow that inspired their name - ghostfly. And when I say "float", I do not mean in the way that a dragonfly or hummingbird can hover. Ghostflies never stop moving during flight and this movement is always at a slow, languid pace. It is almost like they are swimming through the air.

The other key difference in appearance are the white, moss-like protrusions all over the ghostfly's body. They remind me a bit of the spines of a pine trees, if they were tiny and flexible. It is these protrusions that are the source of the ghostfly's glow. I am also convinced the ghostfly has full control over when it emits a glow, for it will stop emitting light when it lands on a tree and prepares to hunt. Ghostflies are opportunistic hunters, camouflaging as the typical white moss that clings to many trees of the Black Forest by tucking all their wings tightly against their body and becoming perfectly still. When a smaller insect comes within striking range, the ghostfly will dart forward and capture it between its sharp mouth pincers and consume their prey.

Honestly, if it weren't for their unnerving way of flying and the fact that they choose to live in those accursed woods, I would find the ghostfly very beautiful. The pale silver wings, mossy white body, and gentle glow are all quite appealing.

Before I end this journal entry, I wish to make one final note, even though I'd prefer to simply erase it from my memory. Just before dawn on the final night I noticed some strange behaviour from the ghostflies. They seemed to be congregating in large amounts further into the woods. Since I absolutely refused to set foot into the Black Forest, I did not investigate further, but I couldn't shake the feeling that they were following something, for the glowing cloud they created seemed to move at a steady pace in a singular direction. I do not even want to speculate on what they could have been following as I do not wish to have nightmares for months, so I will leave that for a braver soul to ponder.

~ Sakino

bottom of page