Crane Fly Diet: Food They Eat That You Won't Believe | Kidadl


Crane Fly Diet: Food They Eat That You Won't Believe

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Crane fly is one of the general names given to the insects that belong to the family Tipulidae.

There are around 15,000 crane fly species, and it is one of the largest species groups in the world. The life cycle of crane flies is very minimal.

The lifespan of crane fly adults is usually 10-15 days, while larvae life is between a few weeks and can go up to one entire year. The crane fly wingspan is from 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm), and the body length of an adult crane fly is up to 1 in (2.5 cm). A medium to large-sized crane fly has a head, elongated legs, wings, and abdomen. Adult crane flies have skinny and delicate legs.

They can be differentiated from other flies by the 'V' shaped suture on the thorax. Crane fly larvae are found in various habitats such as moist woods, fields, near streams, and ponds.

Crane flies change with four stages: eggs, larvae or larva, pupa or pupae, and the adult. Even though there are four stages in the life cycle of crane flies, the adult crane flies, once they are fully grown, hardly feed and have a short lifespan. Females lay up to 300 eggs on the ground. The female abdomen ends in an ovipositor for laying eggs and dig deeper as the summer progresses. They hatch in two weeks, and the hatched larvae feed on vegetation and decaying wood. The eggs hatch quickly in the soil. The larvae of the crane fly eggs are black.

Usually, the crane fly larvae have four stages of life. They have no shape, look like a small worm, and can be up to 2 in (5 cm). During winters, they feed on leaves under the soil or ground before they become pupae. The larval stage cannot usually be seen in the spring as the larvae dig and stay under the ground; the larval stage can last anywhere from a few weeks to one year. In its larval form, the crane fly is defenseless.

They vary in colors that range from grey, brown, to yellow. In their larva stage, these insects are cylindrical, long, sluggish, and have tough outer skin. Once they become adult crane flies, they leave behind their pupal cases with tough outer skin, often referred to as leather jackets.

When the adult fly emerges, it leaves behind its pupal case (puparium), which appear like little, grey sticks. Adult crane flies live long enough to reproduce.

If you enjoy reading such exciting and fun facts, check out the articles on the garter snakes diet and corn snake diet.

What are crane flies?

Different species have different feeding techniques. Some species feed on algae, bacteria, wood, and some species are predators who kill and consume living aquatic insects. Some species feed on decomposing organic material and others on vegetation, grass, nectar.

Slender two-winged flies with long delicate legs belonging to the Tipulidae family are called crane flies.

Crane fly feed on decomposing vegetation and various plant roots. Crane flies diet is often mistaken for mosquitoes, but they are harmless and feed on decaying wood and vegetation like grass and field crops. The stages from egg to grub-like larva to pupa, then to adulthood, have a short lifespan.

It eats during the larva stage and is found in moist soil areas with plenty of vegetation. Few species of slow crawling wingless crane fly are found on snow. A few species can be found in streams feeding on small aquatic insects, invertebrates, and any decaying plant life near the surface.

Crane flies can be found in tropical and equatorial regions to the sub-polar land.

Crane fly larvae come out in moist soil, feeding on various plant roots, decaying plant tissue, and decomposing vegetation habitats. Crane flies look like tan or gray grubs, with segmented, wormlike bodies, a definite head, and tiny, fleshy projections at the hind end. The hatched slender larva is also called a leather jacket because of its tough brown skin.

Do crane flies bite?

Adult crane flies look like large or oversized mosquitoes.

They are also called 'mosquito hawks' or 'daddy long legs.'

Surprisingly, they do not bite or sting as they do not have jaws.

They play an essential role in helping to enrich the soil turning dead organic litter into a nutrient-rich material.

What do crane flies eat?

Crane flies are about three times as big as mosquitoes.

Crane fly larvae play an important role in stream ecosystems, breaking down waste in soil that helps process organic material for other organisms.

Crane flies which are adult, do not feed. The only form of feeding stage is the crane fly larvae stage. Crane flies larvae generally feed on roots of grasses or plants, under the soil surface, and decaying organic matter.

Do crane flies eat mosquitoes?

One notable fact about the body of the crane fly, especially adults, is that they have a unique feature from which humans have been inspired to create more effective designs – halteres.

These halteres are small knob structures that are club-shaped that help the flying insects to change rotations during flying. This process is similar in function to what we call a gyroscope on our modern aircraft.

There is no threat or harm to humans or other animals from crane flies. They do not eat or suck blood or bite like mosquitoes.

Species of crane flies neither eat mosquitoes and spiders nor do they sting or bite. Crane flies are incorrectly labeled as 'mosquito hawks' or 'mosquito eaters,' but we cannot say that crane fly eat mosquito because it doesn't. The adult crane flies sometimes feed on flower nectar or does not feed at all.

Their long legs make them very poor fliers and will fly toward any light source they see. Crane flies do not spread any diseases and are not infectious.

Crane fly is considered to be a pest in a few parts of the world. For example, in America, especially North America, they have become invasive. Crane flies can be a problem in lawns and landscape plants. They might become a pest to field crops, golf courses, and pasture grass.

The hatched larvae or the eggs may damage the plant roots and attract more pests, like raccoons, birds, and skunks, which may destroy the ground or lawn to feed on them. The eggs or larvae attract more significant pests looking for food.

Crane fly species and the eggs or larvae are prey or food for land animals such as spiders, centipedes, and predatory beetles. Larvae or eggs are also prey for many aquatic animals.

There is no significant harm from the crane flies. However, it would be a problem if they were large in number. We need to exterminate these insects at the larval stage at home as they can damage our lawns.

There are two methods to control them. First, called the biological control method, in which you encourage the presence of birds or beetles to come and eat crane flies in your garden as they are natural predators. Secondly, insecticides or professional pest control are rarely recommended as these chemicals may also harm humans.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for the crane fly diet, then why not take a look at pigs diet or crane fly facts?

Written By
Deepthi Reddy

<p>With an MBA under her belt, Deepthi has discovered her true calling in content writing. Her writing repertoire is diverse, covering travel, movies, pet care, parenting, animals and birds, and more. Her joy of learning and creating has helped her craft well-written and engaging articles. When she isn't writing, Deepthi enjoys exploring new cultures, trying different foods, and spending quality time with her two children aged 7 and 12.</p>

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