Sometimes mistaken for young Craneflies, Hangingflies have more wings and eat their meals with their feet.
Hangingflies look like the large, leggy Craneflies commonly seen clinging to window screens in the summer, but they are smaller; more like the size of a mosquito. Hangingflies have two pairs of wings (4 total) and often rest with all of them stretched outward. They are usually seen hanging onto a leaf or twig, bending their long legs in a crouch-like manner. Some species have creamy white abdomens, others are more tan or brown. Some species have clear wings, and some are patterned with color. All of them are hunters and use their long, strong back legs to capture smaller insects as they glide past them.
They are quiet in flight and pick up prey with their back 'feet', bringing it to the mouth where it is consumed. Various flies and other small insects are common food items. A male presents a female with a meal (dead or alive) to woo her into mating. Hangingfly eggs are laid on the ground in leaf litter or soil. Hatched larvae spend most of their lives down there until they pupate into winged adults. (*The Wingless Hangingfly belongs to a different genus). Adults are active from late spring through early autumn and are found near woodlands, forests, and areas close to gently moving water.
Scientific Name: Bittacus spp.
Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39in to 0.78in)
Colors: white, ivory, brown, tan
Descriptors: long legs, mosquito, cranefly, clear wings, screens, flying, wet
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