Fly - A Love Child?
Tim Gibb, Insect Diagnostician,
Department of Entomology, Purdue University
Some have suggested that crane flies are the
result of a mosquito falling in love with a daddy long leg spider. Interesting
love story but until I acquire scientific evidence such as from
grocery store tabloids or clear images directly from Photoshop
depicting mosquitoes mating with spiders, I am relegating this
story to pure fiction.
The truth is that these common flies are just
that … flies. They
form their own family called Tipulidae and there are many species
involved. As a group they are known for their long slender legs. The
name crane fly, undoubtedly originates from these legs. Cranes
(the bird variety) can wade in very deep water because of their
unusually long legs, very tall cranes (the machines) stand on long
slender legs way above the structures they help build, and cranes
(the flies) also have very thin but unusually long legs.
Crane flies do have the general
appearance of a mosquito but they are much larger and most importantly,
they do not bite people. They
may have legs that stretch a full 2 inches or more in length and
have wings to match.
Crane flies live in fairly moist areas where
their larvae use a unique siphoning tube in a snorkel-like fashion
to poke above the water and take in air. They often occur in
plugged roof or tile gutters and in areas that retain water and
decaying leaves or other organic matter. In wet years,
we see more crane flies than during dry years.
Some introduced species have become pests
in eastern states in wet lawns where they occur in masses by
the thousands and actually do damage to the grass. Otherwise,
the crane fly is pretty much just a curiosity. They do not harm people
or plants but simply mind their own business. They do not
require controls because they are not considered a pest.
I will keep my eye on daddy long leg spiders, however, just in
case there actually is some mischief going on.
Links for more info:
and Garden News - University of MN
Beneficial Insects in the Garden
Flies - University of KY