Bug of Week 10: Crane Fly

Have you ever seen one of these insects and thought to yourself, "Why is that mosquito so big?!" It's not a giant mosquito, it's a crane fly! They might look alarming, but they're actually harmless and don't bite humans. In fact, many species of crane fly don't even have a mouth! Although they're also sometimes known as "skeeter eaters" or "mosquito hawks", they don't eat mosquitos.

Please be gentle and respectful to all animals and insects.

Species Tipulidae

HABITAT (WHERE THEY LIVE): There are about 15,000 different species of crane flies, and they can be found all over the world. They prefer damp environments such as pond and streams, or moist soil in lawns or compost piles.

NUTRITION (WHAT THEY EAT): Crane fly larvae feed on organic matter, making them a helpful decomposer. Many species of adult crane fly don't have mouths, so they never eat at all. The species that do have mouthparts feed on sugary plant nectar.

PREDATORS (WHO EATS THEM): Unlike most flies, they are weak, wobbly fliers and tend to easily fall prey to birds, bats, cats, and yellow jackets.

LIFE CYCLE: Adult female crane flies lay most of their eggs before making their first flight. These eggs hatch in the soil, and become gray, worm-like larvae, which turn into pupae in a matter of months. The pupae are sometimes known as "leatherjackets". The adult crane fly emerges from the ground, living just long enough to mate and lay eggs.