Thursday, February 9

TEXAN LESSON: Mosquito Hawks

Okay. This is a mosquito hawk. We've been told that they eat mosquitoes. It's more widely known as a crane fly, but down here, they're called mosquito hawks. They have a couple other names, including daddy longlegs, but my personal slang favorite, is "skeeter eater."
We've seen an incredible increase in mosquito hawk sightings in our grassy areas, and some of the little buggers have made their way up to the third floor and into our house. One such traveler was large enough to send Sydney into hysterics the other night. But really, on the ground floor, they're everywhere. They're flitting here and there all over the grass, and all over the sidewalk. Sadly, some haven't been too quick to move, and there are some squished carcasses on the ground. (Yes, they're big enough that you can see them squished on concrete.) Daisy trapped one between her nose and the ground so she could investigate it. She found it lacking, and moved on.
This particular photo is a little misleading, as all of the mosquito hawks that I've seen lately are an orange color.
Wait. ... ...
You know what? They don't eat mosquitoes. Here's this from Texas A&M: "Larvae have chewing mouthparts. Crane fly larvae feed primarily on decomposing organic matter. Adults do not feed. ... They commonly occur in moist environments such as woodlands, streams and flood plains although some species inhabit open fields, dry rangeland and even desert environments."
So, they tend to eat up grassy areas; are generally just random bugs with long legs and delicate, little wings; don't fly super well; and tend to just be considered a nuisance. Great. Big bugs with no redeeming qualities. They fly around and scare my kid. And they don't eat mosquitoes.
Also a lesson from today, a lifelong Texan had no idea what one of the state's most prolific insects eats.

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