Wild Florida Photo - Bittacomorpha clavipes - Phantom crane fly

Bittacomorpha clavipes

Phantom crane fly
Eastern phantom crane fly

Florida native

Volusia Co. FL 12/02/07
Volusia Co. FL 12/02/07
Volusia Co. FL 12/02/07
Volusia Co. FL 12/02/07

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This distinctive insect that has the appearance of a giant mosquito can be seen in moist woods and along stream margins throughout North America east of the Rockies.
Bittacomorpha clavipes is the most common and easily identified species of the phantom crane flies. The basal segments of the tarsi are enlarged and concave to catch the wind when flying. Mostly black, the delicate legs have white bands, the widest of these near the tips. The small wings are clear with black veins.
They soar through the air with the long thin body in a vertical position and the legs outstretched, wobbling back and forth. At rest, they often hang from vegetation, as seen in these photos.
Adults sometimes feed on nectar, often eating nothing at all. Eggs are deposited singly or in small clusters at the edge of fresh water. Larvae scavenge for organic matter in shallow water, breathing through a snorkel-like tube at the tip of the abdomen. Fully grown larvae pupate in moist soil. Adults are found from May through September in much of their range, later in Florida.


Bittacomorpha clavipes is a member of the Ptychopteridae - Phantom Crane Flies family.

For more information on this species, visit the following link:
BugGuide.net page for this species

Date record last modified: Jul 25, 2020

Paul Rebmann Nature Photography at pixels.com