craneflies

September 3, 2008

Dear Chris,

You asked what crane flies eat. Wikipedia says adults eat either nectar, or nothing.

You’re familiar with bugs like cicadas and mayflies and moths: they live long, happy lives as larvae … and then turn into adults so they can have sex one last (er, first) time before they die. They don’t always bother to eat in their adult stage, so they don’t need mouthparts.

Crane flies follow a similar schedule (the larvae eat forest detritus). They might not eat – but then again, researchers have seen craneflies visit flowers, “probably for nectars,” say the entomologists at the CMNH in Pittsburgh.

It seems bug species currently outnumber entomologists, so they don’t have time to answer all of our pressing questions about crane flies. They did assign crane flies to the family Tipulidae, and classified them as a type of fly, so I guess that’s about all we can expect for now.

Obviously this needs further study. Why don’t you catch a cranefly, offer to cook it dinner, and see what it requests?

Love,
Beth

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