I've seen them a million times, and gotten a million different names.

Yesterday, I was standing in my kitchen looking out the window into may back yard, and noticed this big-ass bug that I've seen many times before. Initially, it looks like a great big mosquito. But I've never had one annoyingly buzzing around my head like skeeters do, so I've often wondered what their deal is.

Photo by Ruben Boekeloo on Unsplash
Photo by Ruben Boekeloo on Unsplash

They really do look like if they got at you, they'd suck every drop of blood out of your body. They're easily the size of a dozen mosquitoes put together, so I just assume their blood sucking super powers must be on par with their intimidating presence. So yeah... What is that thing anyway?

It's called a few things, but it's a Crane Fly.

That's their official name. They're also unofficially called Tipples, as well as Mosquito Hawks. Now there's a name you can get behind, right? They're huge and look kinda like a mosquito, so they must devour mosquitoes whole, right? Well, no. In fact, they don't even eat mosquitoes at all. That's a big letdown for a bug with such a killer nickname.

Actually, they are still jerks though. Their larvae are called leatherjackets, according to Wikipedia. They can put a pretty serious hurt on crops and lawns, as they love to feed on roots and root hairs. The adults are basically useless though. Their lifespan is so short they don't even eat anything.

They play whatever role they need to in making more little crane flies, and that's about it. Then they die. That's all pretty weak sauce for a bug called a Mosquito Hawk. They seem about as useful as a bus without seats. But if you were wondering at all what those big, nasty skeeter-looking things were, now you know.

I wonder if anyone ever gets bugs tattooed on them? Let's look and see...

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