Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District

Crane Fly 

   Crane flies belong to the family Tipulidae which is the largest family of flies (Order Diptera).  They may be mistaken as large mosquitoes but they do not bite.  The legs are usually long and slender and are easily broken off.  The body is usually elongate and slender, and the wings are long and narrow.

    Crane flies are found chiefly in damp habitats with abundant vegetation.  Larvae (see photo to left) of many species are aquatic or semiaquatic.  Others occur in the soil or in fungi, mosses, and decaying wood.  Most eat decomposing plant matter, but certain aquatic groups are predaceous.  Larvae of a few species feed on roots of young plants and if abundant may damage rangelands and seedling crops.  Adult crane flies usually live only a few days, and probably most do not feed.

Cannot bite (proboscis, if present, unable to penetrate skin).
Develop in moist soil or water.
Fly very poorly.
Usually larger than a mosquito.
Sometimes called a "Mosquito Hawk", but no species predates on mosquitoes.
The crane fly is completely harmless with populations at their greatest during the spring in the Los Angeles Basin. 

(Photo of adult crane fly by Dexter Sear,  IO Vision)




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