Cranefly

  • Scientific name: Tipula paludosa
  • Type: Insects

Key information

This slender, long-legged fly is grey-brown with dark brown leading edges to its wings. It looks like a giant mosquito, but is harmless. It is also known as a daddy longlegs.

The shape of the abdomen distinguishes the sexes: the male’s is square-ended, whereas the female’s is pointed with an ovipositor (egg laying structure). There are about 300 species in the British Isles – this is the most common.

Craneflies are usually nocturnal and are often attracted to lights. Unfortunately their legs are only weakly attached to their bodies and often break off. The dull brown larvae, known as leatherjackets, are pests. They feed on plant roots, especially grasses, and can seriously damage crops.

What they eat:

Adults rarely feed. Larvae live in the soil and eat roots. They also emerge at night to chew the bases of plant stems.

Measurements:

Length:
About 25mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Flower border Hedge Herb garden Lawn/grassy area Meadow area Patio Woodland area

Where and when to see them

Across the garden. It is often attracted to lights in the evening. Also in parks and grassland.

Generally in the evening, at anytime of the year, but it is most common in the autumn.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec