This little midge-like fly came to a light on the night before May 26, 2012, along with a bunch of moths. This was a bit unusual, as I normally don’t see midges being particularly drawn to lights.
There’s a lot of stuff sticking out of the head. There are a pair of feathery antennae sticking off to the side, but most of it is the hugely elongated maxillae (some of the mouthparts) that are sticking way out in front.
I had never actually seen anything like this, and thought it might be something exotic. Based on the feathery antennae, I figured it was a male, so I started by searching for male midges and gnats with elongated mouthparts (without much success) But there was something about the way it stood, with its long hind legs kind of ready to cock up in the air, that looked familiar . . .
. . . so I decided to search on “male mosquito”.
It turns out that male mosquitoes (family Culicidae) look rather a lot different from the females, and most (if not all) appear to have those long maxillae. Up until now, I had no idea that the males looked so different, I had figured that they were just another of those fluffy-antennaed “mufflemouths” like a lot of the midges.
We normally don’t see male mosquitoes, because they have no interest in humans and probably avoid us. Male mosquitoes have no need for the salt and protein in our blood (since they aren’t the ones laying eggs), so they get all their food from plant juices (and maybe nectar). Unlike the females, the males appear to be at least slightly drawn to light
So, what does he use those long maxillae for? Beats me. I’ve been looking around the literature, and so far am not seeing anybody showing even a glimmer of interest in why certain male mosquitoes are like that. Maybe they have sensory cells on them, and act as supplementary antennae. Maybe he uses them to grip the female. Heck, maybe the males use them to joust with each other, kind of like rhinocerous beetles do. As far as I can tell, mosquito researchers are mostly so focused on the females, that they have little or no attention to spare for studying the males.
 This still is no excuse for using one of those UV light “bug zappers”. The male mosquitoes are obviously not strongly drawn to lights, or I would have seen bunches of them instead of just this one. Bug zappers are mainly effective for killing a lot of harmless moths, and for murdering beneficial predators like lacewings. They are practically useless for attracting the things we are actually concerned about like mosquitoes, black flies, and other biting insects.