You probably have seen an insect that looks like a mosquito but with much longer legs and a bit bigger body. Many call these insects mosquito eaters but their real name is crane flies and mosquitoes actually aren’t their main source of nutrition.
Crane flies are Tipulidae family insects that can be found all around the world from tropics to mountains, although the widest diversity in species can be found in tropic climates. That’s why these flies are called different all around the world, for example in the United Kingdom they are commonly called daddy longlegs, but in other places crane fly have acquired names like mosquito hawk, may fly, whapper and of course mosquito eaters.
The adult crane flies have very slender body with ling legs that can be from 0.079 up to 3.9 inches (2 – 100 mm) for some species living in tropics. And because the build of these flies isn’t very proportional, they are not good fliers. In fact they often so to say wobble when flying, fly in unregular patterns, which makes it quite easy to catch them.
Although the most common name for crane flies is mosquito eater, adult crane flies don’t prey on mosquitoes. Adult crane flies are actually physically incapable of killing mosquitoes. The main sustenance or crane flies is flower nectar. The nickname mosquito eaters probably comes from the fact that some larval crane flies feed on mosquito larvae, but it also is only occasionally. Moreover, the adult crane flies don’t even bite humans, so other than their annoying sound, they are harmless to us and their nickname is a hoax.
However, the long legged flies are harmful to plants that’s why they have acquired an agricultural pest status in many countries. Crane flies often live in the very top layers of soil and therefore eat the roots, clown and sometimes even the leaves of the plants that are growing in this soil, that can not only stun plant growth but even kill the plants.
So even though the mosquito eaters aren’t mosquito eaters at all, in fact the y are more of a fly than a mosquito, and even though they don’t bite us as mosquitoes do, they can be harmful to plants and therefore still are pests that need to be eliminated.