In the fascinating world of insects, there are many species which have distinctive characteristics. The crane fly is one such type of insect which can be easily identified with the help of its long legs. Most of the time, this insect species is confused with mosquitoes. However, both are entirely different species and belong to different families. There are approximately thousands of species of crane flies in the ecosystem. Though many in number, crane flies spend only a little while on this Earth. The life span of a crane fly, right from the time of its hatching till death is about a fortnight.
Scientific Classification of the Crane Fly
Interesting Facts about the Crane Fly
Also named as mosquito hawk, the crane fly is one of the many types of flying insects, which can be found almost anywhere. Belonging to the order Diptera, there are approximately 14,000 species of crane flies. These insects are quite amazing when it comes to its survival in the wild. Mentioned below are some of the informative facts about crane flies.
- The characteristic feature of both the male and female crane fly is the long legs, six in number and which are quite fragile and get broken at the slightest harm. Both the genders have a grayish brown colored body. The wingspan of the males is smaller than that of their female counterparts.
- The life cycle of a crane fly, just like other insects, begins as an egg. The larvae which emerge from the eggs are known as 'leather jackets'. Once out of the egg, the larva feeds voraciously on young shoots and roots, thus are considered a danger to plants.
- The larvae, which have a smooth skin and are brownish in color, live in crevices during the day and come out at night for feeding. The diet of leather jackets include grass, fruits, flowers, vegetables, sprouts from seeds and crop roots.
- With the onset of winter, the larvae cease to feed and go into a hibernation like state. As the winter turns into spring, the larvae find a comfortable place and weave a cocoon around themselves. In the pupal stage, the larva undergoes metamorphosis, which transforms it into an adult crane fly.
- A type of crane fly that are wingless and known as Snow Crane flies or Chionea appears in the winter.
- After the fully developed crane fly breaks out of the pupa, it aims at starting a new life cycle. The adult usually prefers to live in areas which have streams, damp wooden areas and flood areas etc. Some species can also thrive in arid conditions.
- Some of the species have adapted themselves to feed on plant litter and nectar. The crane fly's diet consists mainly of dead, decaying matter and plant nectar. However some of the species are so hardy that they can survive only on water. On the other hand, many of the species of crane flies do not possess a proboscis or flexible snout, hence they cannot feed.
- Though harmless to human beings, crane flies and their larvae can prove a threat to plants. The common predators of crane flies are birds, carnivorous plants, spiders and a few species of reptiles. This insect is also used as a bait to lure fish and many artificial lures are made to resemble crane flies.
This fragile insect is beneficial for the ecosystem, since it is food to many birds and reptiles. Though resembling mosquitoes in many aspects, the crane fly does not bite and should not be mistaken as one.