Why Crane Flies Don’t Bite

Crane flies on the window sills. Lots of them. A mini-infestation of crane flies.

The reason they don’t bite is that they have no mouths. But today when I photographed one on our window sill, I wondered what that thing was at the end of its face.

A handful got into the house last night, attracted by the light. They are easy to catch in two hands, cupping them and then lofting them into the air from the open door.

They are about 3 inches (8cm) across – more if they stretched their legs out flat.

I googled and crane flies love wet summers with lots of rotting vegetation. I don’t think this year has been particularly wet, but one thing may have contributed to their success. They have been undisturbed because the Council gardeners have not been tidying up the parks. If that is one reason for the increased numbers, then crane flies can give thanks to COVID.

So I found this second photo on Wikipedia Commons – and look at that thing on the end of its face! And look where its eyes are!

13 thoughts on “Why Crane Flies Don’t Bite

    1. Yes, I saw that name when I was googling for them, but no explanation of why they are called that, or crane flies for that matter! They are, according to Wikipedia, also called daddy long legs, but the daddy long legs I know don’t have wings. Stranger than fiction 🙂

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  1. Wow! An excellent photograph David!!
    So, is that what they call ‘giving someone the hairy eyeball’? LOL
    For some reason we’ve always called these guys ‘Mosquito Eaters’ here (in spite of the fact that we knew they really don’t; )

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    1. Yes, not only don’t they eat mosquitos, but they don’t have mouths with with to eat them – just those strange bits on the front. The bits I really like are the balancers either side of the abdomen. I am sure I have seen similar on an aeroplane or helicopter or something.

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        1. LOL, not just Aeronautical Engineers… People have always borrowed ideas from Nature. Just think of the imitation of Velcro/hook-and-loop from Burdock burrs or the way the tails of the Boat-wing Grackle’ or Beaver are used for steering…
          Where was it said, “There’s nothing new under the sun”? ; )

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    1. So, rather than going through the whole episode, suppose it would’ve been easier if I’d mentioned the pertinent section, hey David? (Re wasp’s egg-laying organ inspiring a new medical tool). Sorry ‘bout that!

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      1. LOL, and now you’ve reminded me of watching what happens when a (water) well-drilling rig hits clay, just before breaking through to a vein… Bounces like crazy, w a y UP into the sky (that’s what my kid’s brain recalls; )

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