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Giant Eastern Cranefly (Pedicia albivitta)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Giant Eastern Cranefly.

 Updated: 4/22/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




One of the largest craneflies on the continent, the Giant Eastern Cranefly is a gentle and fragile insect that can break legs even with a delicate touch.



Giant Eastern Craneflies may look a lot like a humongous mosquito, but it is not one. This fly does not sting nor does it bite. Its size and resemblance to the small, pesky blood-sucking mosquito often means it is killed due to misidentification and misunderstanding. It is often seen resting on tree trunks, plant branches, or even window screens. Long wings can stretch to 80 mm (over 3 inches). They are transparent, but are marked with dark bands that form triangles on the wings. The long abdomen has dark brown, triangular bands along the top side. Though it should have 6 legs, it is common to see one with fewer than that because they are so brittle. Legs break off easily and they do not grow back.

Like all fly larvae, Giant Eastern Cranefly offspring are also called maggots. The wormy maggot stays underground in wet soil near creek and stream banks. The maggot may feed on decaying plant matter and detritus. After pupating, winged adults spend their time trying to reproduce. They are not known to eat. Look for them in woodlands and forests, especially at night. Peak activity happens twice a year: once in the spring and again in the fall.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Pediciidae
          Genus: Pedicia
            Species: albivitta
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Pedicia albivitta
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 38mm (0.78in to 1.48in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, tan, ivory, red
Descriptors: huge, large, giant, legs, mosquito, wings, flying, harmless, fly, five legs, three legs
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
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Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
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.