Mosquito Imposters - Insects that resemble mosquitoes

There are several insects that can easily be confused with mosquitoes because of their similar physical characteristics. The following are some brief traits of a typical mosquito and its most common insect look-a-likes.

Typical Mosquito

  • Bites using its proboscis

  • Wings longer than body

  • Always breeds in water

  • May carry diseases

Aedes mosquito

Crane Fly (a.k.a "mosquito hawks" or "mosquito eaters")

  • Cannot bite (proboscis, if present, unable to penetrate skin)

  • Flies very poorly, usually making “buzzing” sound

  • Develops in soil or water

  • Usually larger than mosquitoes

Crane fly

Chironomid Midge

  • Cannot bite (no proboscis)

  • Body longer than wings

  • Develops in mud on bottoms of lakes and ponds

  • About the same size as a mosquito

Chironomid midge

Fungus Gnat

  • Cannot bite (no proboscis)

  • Has “spiny” legs

  • Develops in fungus or moist decaying vegetable matter

  • About same size as a mosquito

Fungus gnat
Some of the most common mosquito-like insects tend to be nuisances only during certain times of the year (usually spring and fall) when large numbers emerge for short periods of time. Because they do not bite, they constitute no public health concern