I found this beautiful black crane fly on the patio of the library on a very hot July day this past summer. I have asked bugguide.net to identify it but they have called in the experts for the ID. Crane flies eat mosquitoes and are one of my favorite insects. They have very long legs, and this one had exceptionally long legs (below):
I was even lucky enough one day this year to photograph a crane fly larva that was in the brook in the back yard:
I didn't even think this black crane fly was a crane fly because it was black and because the legs seemed so exceptionally long. Also, this was a heavier crane fly than I had seen. Hopefully, an identification will come along soon!
UPDATE (December 9, 2011): This has now been identified as a Giant Crane Fly (Tipula abdominalis). You can find out more by reading the bug page at bugguide.net here.