Texas-sized mosquitoes causing a stir

Crane flies, which some call “mosquito hawks,” are prevalent this year and probably flying around your house. However, the fly that is the mosquito's cousin has no interest in blood-sucking.
BY TRACEY PAYTON MILLER Published: April 3, 2012

The other day I noticed my dog, Carlos, jumping at something through the window.

Upon further inspection, I noticed swarms of large mosquito-like flies on my porch.

You may be asking, so what are these mosquito-like bugs, and why are they so abundant?

Crane flies, incorrectly known as “mosquito hawks,” are large, brown flies with long legs.

Their long legs are easily broken, so you may see one with only four or five. All true flies, like the Crane fly, have two pairs of wings.

However, the second pair of wings are modified into clubs or “halteres.”

These halteres aid in flight — some say similar to a gyroscope — and can be easily seen on a specimen as large as the Crane fly.

Take a closer look the next time you see one.

Contrary to their common name, adults and larvae of Crane flies do not feed on mosquitoes.

The larvae of Crane flies are large, grey brown, thick and cylindrical.

Crane fly larvae have chewing mouthparts, helping them decompose vegetation.

To learn more

If you have questions about insects in the lawn or garden, call a Cleveland County master gardener at 321-4774 or email ccmastergardener@yahoo.com.

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