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Giant Eastern Crane Fly (Pedicia albivitta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Giant Eastern Crane Fly

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Image Credit: Dan L. from Aspenhof, MO
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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.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmless insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Diptera
        Family: Pediciidae
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          Genus: Pedicia
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            Species: albivitta

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Pedicia albivitta
Category: Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 20mm to 38mm (0.78" to 1.49")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; tan; ivory; red
Descriptors: huge; large; giant; legs; mosquito; wings; flying; harmless; fly; five legs; three legs

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 20mm (0.8in) and 38mm (1.5in)
Lo: 20mm
Md: 29mm
Hi: 38mm

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 Giant Eastern Crane Fly 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 Giant Eastern Crane Fly. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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