The Insect With a Thousand Names


“Look Mom!; A giant, Mosquito!”


“Now don’t kill ‘im, son.  That’s a Mosquito Hawk and he eats mosquitoes.”




Near on 20 years later and there’s a plague on my house and someone tells me:  “A plague of what?  No, that’s not Mosquito Hawk; a Mosquito Hawk is a Dragon Fly, that’s a Mosquito Dragon.”


What is that thing?


It’s a story of mistaken identity and misdirection that belongs on Dateline.  Just to get it straight from the start; they’re called Crane Flies or insects in the Tipulidae family.  I would include a picture but they are not nice close up.  So, I asked someone who grew up in India what they were called and she said they were Daddy Long Legs.  And I sputtered “What? No way! A Daddy Long Legs is a spider!  I of course was being an ass as later I asked someone from the UK what she called them and she said she learned to call them Mosquito Eaters but then with a near apologetic tone said she grew up calling them Daddy Long Legs.  So now I had: Mosquito Hawk, Mosquito Dragon, Mosquito Eaters and Daddy Long Legs.  Last night I’m in Second Life listening to a live podcast feed and I ask a few other listeners what they’re called.  It takes a while to convince them I’m not talking about Dragon Flies but then someone says: “I think they’re called May Flies.”  Finally someone had the most common name (according to Wiki although I’d never heard it before) Crane Flies.


They don’t eat Mosquitoes.


This is a misconception because people also call Dragon Flies Mosquito Hawks and Dragon Flies do eat Mosquito’s.


And now, a list of Names of my Creepy but harmless home invaders:


-Mosquito Hawks

            -can also refer to Dragon Flies

            -can also refer to Damsel Flies

-Mosquito Dragons

-Mosquito Eaters

-Skeeter Eaters

-Daddy Long Legs

            -can also refer to the namesake Spider.



-Texas Mosquitoes (mmmhm)

-Jimmy Spinner


What do you call ’em?


1 Comment

  1. Katey said,

    June 4, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I’ve always called them Skeeta Hawks. And the spiders are called GRAND Daddy Long Legs. I’m from the South though, so what do I know?

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