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Crane fly

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Crane flies
Scientific classification

The crane flies are a family (Tipulidae) of insects resembling large mosquitoes, although they in the order Diptera and thus more closely related to flies. They are also called "daddy longlegs", a name shared with the spider-like harvestman, or sometimes "mosquito hawks", although they don't eat mosquitoes.

In appearance they seem long and gangly, with very long legs, and a long thin abdomen. The wings are often held out when at rest, making the large halteres easily visible. They are weak fliers, and easily caught, although it is hard to avoid breaking their legs in the process. Temperate species range up to 60 mm in size, while tropical species have been recorded at over 100 mm.

Adult crane flies feed on nectar, while their larvae, sometimes called "leatherjackets", consume roots and other vegetation, in some cases causing damage to plants.

At least 14,000 species have been described (most of them by the specialist Charles P. Alexander[?]), making Tipulidae the largest family of Diptera.

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