Crane Fly and its “sting”

Subject:  Stung by a crane fly
Geographic location of the bug:  Norway
Date: 07/11/2018
Time: 02:51 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi!:)
I sat outside today and suddenly felt a sharp pain in my back. I slapped my hand on my back and  killed a crane fly(i think)… i know that that was whAt stung me(photo). Do you agree that this is a crane fly? Or could IT be something else?
How you want your letter signed:  Heidi Kristine

Crane Fly

Dear Heidi Kristine,
This does indeed appear to be a Crane Fly and the irritation on your neck does appear to be a sting or bite.  Over the years, we have always agreed with experts that Crane Flies do not sting or bite, including Dr. Chen Young who maintains the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania site where it states they are “a group of harmless flies,” but the images you have submitted are solid evidence to dispute that long standing scientific consensus.  At the very least, it would seem the scientific community might need to investigate the possibility that some species of Crane Flies might be capable of stinging or biting. We will send your images to Dr. Young and to Eric Eaton to see if either would like to comment.

Sting or Bite mark

Eric Eaton provides input.
I’ll be real curious as to what Chen Young says.  The image is definitely a female crane fly, but they do NOT sting.  I suppose it could use its ovipositor to jab you, but then I don’t understand the dermatological reaction Heidi is showing.
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

2 thoughts on “Crane Fly and its “sting””

    • Thanks Cesar. WTB? has been getting reports of Crane Fly stings for years. Without images, we generally blame Short Tailed Ichneumons, but these images seem to support the claim.


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