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Cranefly (Brachypremna dispellens)

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

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Image Credit: Joe V. from AR
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Narrow and thin, this species of Cranefly might be confused for another type of insect or arachnid.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Often seen hanging by four of its six legs, this Cranefly is sometimes thought to be a Harvestman (commonly called a Daddy Long-legs) or some kind of skinny spider. Craneflies are generally also mistaken to be enormous mosquitoes, but they do not bite. The back legs on this fly are very long and fine, and they may be fully extended, giving them the appearance of narrow tails. The long wings on this Cranefly cover most of its body when folded over each other, but they may also lay flat and open.

Larvae for this species are aquatic and live in the quiet areas of creek or springs. Adults cling to window screens, walls, and other surfaces. Like other Craneflies, this species is not harmful to people and is content quietly resting in the high corners and areas of buildings when it is not on tree trunks.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Tipulidae
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          Genus: Brachypremna
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            Species: dispellens
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Brachypremna dispellens
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 12mm to 17mm (0.47" to 0.66")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white; gray
Descriptors: long legs; hanging; tail; four legs; long wings; fly

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 12mm (0.5in) and 17mm (0.7in)
Lo: 12mm
Md: 14.5mm
Hi: 17mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Cranefly may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Cranefly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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