Phantom Crane Flies

phantom crane fly perched on reed
Courtesy of Kerry Wixted/Flickr Creative Commons

At the end of the boardwalk, keep an eye out for phantom craneflies floating almost upright through the air. Their conspicuously striped legs detach very easy, which is thought to be an escape mechanism if a predator happens to snatch them by a leg. Craneflies sometimes are called "mosquito hawks" and are thought to be predators, however most craneflies do not eat other insects. They do not bite. In fact they hardly eat at all, they will occasionally lap up nectar for a meal. Phantom craneflies lay an average of 300 eggs in shallow water where the larva will consume detritus, or dead organic material.


See how many frogs you can spot in the muddy water below. It may surprise you how well camouflaged they are!