Arriving with spring this year, came clouds of fairy-winged bugs that caught everyone’s attention. “Skeeter-eaters?” Mosquito Hawks? Nope. They are crane flies, related to mosquitoes house flies and mosquito hawks that do kill the larvae of other mosquitoes, but crane flies are incapable of killing or eating a mosquito, biting or stinging us. Its adult life lasts two to 15 days after hatching, long enough to mate and then die but “do play an environmentally important role,” wrote Lucile Bayon Hume in an article for Country Roads magazine (July 2, 2013). “Their larvae decompose organic litter lying at the bottom of streams and on forest floors, helping enrich the soil and enhancing habitats of other creatures. They’re also meals for birds, reptiles, amphibians, other insects, and fish. Many of us tolerate the gentle giants and practice a catch-and-release policy, catching them gently so as not to snap off any fragile appendages.”
“The Bugman,” Daniel Marlos, who teaches journalism and photography at Los Angeles City College, may be coming to the Mountain Mermaid’s Speakers Series next month.