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Hangingfly (Bittacus spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Hangingfly.

 Updated: 6/19/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




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 like a mosquito. Hangingflies have two pairs of wings and often rest with them all outstretched. They are usually 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 captures 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 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 water (creeks, streams, ponds, etc).




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Bittacidae
          Genus: Bittacus
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Bittacus spp.
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39in to 0.78in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, ivory, brown, tan
Descriptors: long legs, mosquito, cranefly, clear wings, screens, flying, wet
Territorial Map
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
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Alberta
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Manitoba
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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.