Saturday, October 15, 2011

Creature Feature: Cranefly.

Mosquitoes suck. They spread malaria and a bunch of other unpleasant diseases, those bites itch like crazy, and they're just annoying. It almost makes one wonder if they're worth keeping alive to preserve the ecosystem. Man, if they were any bigger, we'd be in trouble...

Who is naming this daddy long-legs?

No, that is not a genetically-enhanced mosquito. That is a crane fly, a bizarre type of bug also called a "mosquito wolf" or "mosquito hawk." They belong to the family Tipulidae and live almost everywhere. No, they are not dangerous, but no doubt their similarity to mosquitoes has led to a lot fewer craneflies in the world.


Crane flies can usually be found lurking on screen windows. They stay there, motionless until you try to swat them off.  Most adult crane flies either eat nectar or nothing at all. As with many insects, the adults exist only to mate and die.


Adult crane flies are not harmful at all. Their larvae, however, may cause some turf damage. The wormlike babies are called leatherbacks or leatherjackets and basically look a lot like short, rubbery earthworms. The most they will do is eat your lawn from the roots-up. Some of them are also aquatic. Even then, it's not like they're Japanese beetles or anything.

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