Fish flies are common insects found in a lot of countries in the west. But many people mistake them for being able to help with a growing mosquito population. So do fish flies eat mosquitoes? Or is this a case of mistaken identity that needs to be corrected before something harmful is done?
What’s a fish fly?
There’s always been confusion hovering around the name “fish fly”. That’s because this name doesn’t just refer to one insect. It labels two completely different bugs that stay in the same kind of environment.
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The Mayfly are winged aquatic insects that belong to the order Ephemeroptera. They’re often called Canadian Soldiers in the US and Shadflies or Fishflies in Canada.
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Mayflies are somewhat like dragonflies, they’re born in wet environments and spend a large portion of their lives as nymphs submerged in water. They also have two transparent and veiny wings that are tucked flat on top of their bodies, just like what a dragonfly has.
One distinctive feature that mayflies have is their incredibly long abdomen. It’s made with several segments, and it has two or three long tail-like appendages at the tip. Most of the time, the tails lay flat, forming a wide letter V. But when the abdomen is raised, they curl stiffly upwards.
The second “fish fly” is a group of insects that belong to the subfamily Chauliodinae. They usually don’t have any other names to go by, but these Fishflies also live most parts of their lives in the same aquatic environment.
Unlike mayflies, the Chauliodinae are less delicate. With a wingspan of 2.5 to 3 inches, they’re a lot bigger. They have feathery antennae just like that of a mosquito’s. And they’re also greyish brown and musty-looking. Their wings are arranged similar to termite swarmer’s, but they don’t come in a uniform shade. Instead, they’re covered in dark camo-looking patterns.
Do these fish flies eat mosquitoes?
What’s intriguing about these two “fish flies” is that even though people claim it to be true, none of them actually eat mosquitoes in their adult forms.
However, there are some speculations when it comes to their larval stages. Since these two insects are aquatic when they’re young, they feed on anything small and edible in the water. This makes it possible that they could also eat mosquito larvae. But unfortunately, there’s no report that says anything about this. And even if it is true, it’s definitely not the “vacuuming and gorging” kind that you often see in tadpoles and fish.
“Flies” That Do Eat Mosquitoes
Well, technically these bugs are not flies, but they are known to control mosquito populations in an area. Here are some of the most documented mosquito-eating “flies” that you might want to look into:
- Dragonflies. One of the best mosquito killers is the graceful dragonfly. This insect is a true “mosquito hawk” because it preys on both adult and larval mosquitoes.
- Damselflies. Just like dragonflies, damselflies also have a healthy appetite for mosquitoes. These winged insects usually come along when dragonflies are around, but you can live with them with no problem.
- Sand Flies. Also known as Biting Midges, these flies do hunt for mosquitoes in their larval stages; however, they can attack humans as well. Cases of biting midges can be severely irritating because they’re known to cause large uncomfortable bites.
If you want to know more about these insects and learn how to attract some of them into your home, go to our post here.
But for now, the answer to the question Do fish flies eat mosquitoes? is obvious. For both insects, only a small percentage of their diet includes mosquitoes. So that’s not something you can take advantage of. You’re better off trying other methods that really work.