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Crane Fly3 locationsInsect/Spider
.: ASUAviator :.
Apr 11 2013
Reach 11 Recreation Area
Featured Detail Photo mini map Featured Full Photo.: te_wa :.
Jun 28 2009
Mount Baldy Loop
FamilyTipulidae - Crane Flies
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Tipulidae g.

Common Names
Mosquito Hawk, Mosquito Eater, Skeeter Eater, Wolf Mosquito, Gallinipper, Gollywhopper (honestly, I didn't make these up)

They are common flies and widely distributed around the world. The life cycle is typical of insects with many eggs deposited in various moist environments like turf, crop fields, rotting vegetation or shallow water – depending on the species.

The adults are characterized by cylindrical bodies (2-60mm), one pair of membranous wings and long, fragile legs making them easily recognizable. The colour and form of these characteristics varies by species, of which there are over 10,000. The male and female are usually distinguishable by the end of the abdomen. The female has a pointed end with an ovipositor, the male has a blunt end with claspers to hold the female during mating.

Crane flies have very long legs, and a long slender abdomen. The wings are often held out when at rest, making the large halteres easily visible. Unlike most flies, crane flies are weak and poor fliers with a tendency to "wobble" in unpredictable patterns during flight, and they can be caught without much effort.

Crane flies vary in size, with temperate species ranging from 2 to 60 millimetres (0.079 to 2.4 in), while tropical species have been recorded at over 100 millimetres (3.9 in). The giant crane fly (Holorusia rubiginosa) of the western United States can reach 38 millimetres (1.5 in). Some Tipula species are 64 millimetres (2.5 in). Many smaller species are mosquito-sized, but they can be distinguished from mosquitoes by the V-shaped suture on the thorax, nonpiercing mouthparts, and a lack of scales on the wing veins.

Female abdomens contain eggs, and as a result appear swollen in comparison to those of males. The female abdomen also ends in a pointed ovipositor that may look somewhat like a stinger, but is completely harmless.

Adult mouthparts may occur on the end of the crane fly's long face, which is sometimes called a snout or a short rostrum.

Larvae have a distinct head capsule, and their abdominal segments often have long fleshy projections surrounding the posterior spiracles (almost like tentacles).

The eggs hatch into larvae which feed on roots or other available vegetation, in temperate regions they overwinter, pupate for about 2 weeks in the late spring and the adults hatch in the summer and fly for 25-35 days.

The adults and larvae are important food sources for a wide range of birds, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids and other insects.

Crane fly larvae, commonly called leatherjackets, can be destructive to cereal crops and turf by eating the roots of the plants and grasses. At least 4,250 species of crane flies have been described.

Despite their common names, as adults, crane flies do not prey on mosquitoes, nor do they bite humans. Some larval crane flies are predatory and may occasionally eat mosquito larvae. Adult crane flies feed on nectar or they do not feed at all. Once they become adults, most crane fly species exist as adults only to mate and die.

Their larvae,called "leatherjackets", "leatherbacks", "leatherback bugs" or "leatherjacket slugs" because of the way they move, consume roots (such as those of turf grass) and other vegetation, in some cases causing damage to plants. The crane fly is occasionally considered a mild turf pest in some areas.

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