Crane Flies are Not Mosquitoes!
By Yated Ne'eman Staff
An onslaught of crane flies swept Jerusalem neighborhoods
last week as a result of the drastic changes in weather
conditions. The current heat wave, which was preceded by
rainfall, brought about the wave of uninvited guests.
Many think that the large crane flies are mosquitoes, but
they are not. Prof. Meir Pener, a senior entomologist at the
Hebrew University's department of cell and animal biology in
Jerusalem, identified the giant bug as members of the
Tipulidae family. They are big and grayish black, with
extremely long legs and range up to three centimeters long.
They are not closely related to the "daddy longlegs" known
in the United States, which are non-flying arachnids and
related to spiders.
The insects, which are harmless to humans and animals, feed
primarily off grass and decaying plant tissue. They are
attracted to light, so leaving unscreened windows open at
night will bring large numbers of the bugs indoors. They are
slow and not too bright, and it is relatively easy to squash
The best known species of Tipulidae, the range crane fly,
deposits its small black eggs in damp areas. Each egg
hatches into a long slender larva called a "leatherjacket"
because of its tough brown skin. The larvae feed all winter,
and then emerge as insects when sudden heat arrives, as has
occurred in the past week throughout Israel.