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Image Credit: Dale M. from Goderich, ON
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Image Credit: Yvonne from Phoenix, AZ
Image Credit: Arch Baker
The Cranefly is not a mosquito, but it unfortunately resembles one of humanity's most annoying insects and pays the price.
Craneflies in the lawn during mating season
Though they look like giant mosquitoes, they are not mosquitoes. Craneflies do not bite, they do not have a long proboscis (snout) and adults are not known to feed... on anything. Their fragile long legs break easily and may lead some people to think they are a form of giant Daddy-Long Legs (which are not spiders, by the way), but Craneflies have a pair of wings, which are easy enough to see if you get closer.
Adults tend to sit on walls or hang on things (like plants, gutters, soffits, attracted to light. Some species prefer more aquatic habitats, while others are completely terrestrial.
Females may have a long ovipositor, resembling a needle-like stinger, but it is used to deposit eggs in moist soil or in water, depending on the species. These eggs may overwinter, hatching in the early months of spring. Once the larvae hatch, the immature Craneflies feed on decaying matter, leaf mold and fungi.
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Other Name(s): Leatherjacket
Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 65mm (0.31in to 2.54in)
Colors: brown; gray; gold
Descriptors: flying, funny face, gray worm, translucent, large mosquito, harmless
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.