Have you noticed the plethora of winged insects with really long legs of late? While admiring our blooming Texas Mountain Laurel, crane flies were spotted resting on the grape-soda scented flowers. After taking way too many pictures, it was time to learn about them. We are seeing an abundance of them due to the wet weather and the fact that it’s early spring, the time they usually appear.
There are over 14,000 species of Crane Flies. “Mosquito Hawk” is the common name, which is a misnomer all the way around. It is not a mosquito, it’s a fly, and hawk nope, – not a predator, and it doesn’t hunt down mosquitoes either, but is often food for other birds and wildlife.
These beneficial insects contribute to the ecosystem by feeding on decomposing matter in moist areas in the larval stage, which is 95% of their life span. The crane fly’s lifecycle is about a year, but adults only live for about 10-15 days. They do not bite, are attracted to light, and the sole purpose as adults is to mate and for the female to lay eggs near water.
Enjoy the brief time that crane flies occupy our airspace. They are interesting to watch, helpful to our environment, and fun to photograph.