Arrival of The Daddy Longlegs

Tipula oleracea

Of x2 images. Yep, it is that time of the year you will find these large flies attracted to the house lights, and before you know it you will have these gangly flying insects bouncing manically off your kitchen or bathroom ceilings and walls as you either try to swat them or catch them. I tend to catch them in a plastic container, let them out the window, and if I am not careful they will fly straight back in again! One of the delights as autumn closes in and the nights draw in.

Tipula oleracea

Tipula oleraceais is probably the commonest cranefly found in Britain, and with its blunted end this is a male.

Front garden. September 2019 © Pete Hillman.


Tipula lateralis

Tipula lateralis female

I initially found this large cranefly on top of blanketweed in my garden pond. They can grow up to a length of  2cm (3/4 inch), and have a distinguishing pale line which runs down the back of the abdomen. This is a female with the pointed abdomen, which is actually her ovipositor for laying eggs.

Tipula lateralis female

The adults can be seen March to October, and around water. Common and widespread throughout. The semi aquatic larva feeds on rotting plants at the bottom of ponds or streams.

Tipula lateralis female

August 2017, Staffordshire, England.

On The Windowpane

Tipula confusa

This morning I spotted this cranefly on my living room windowpane as I was eating breakfast. Grey skies and rain outside, perhaps it was wishing it was indoors.

Photograph of Tipula confusa, taken October 2016, on living room window, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

European Crane Fly

Tipula paludosa

European Crane Fly (Tipula paludosa)

We will see a lot more of these large flies as autumn fast approaches. I found this one resting on my patio door early this morning, catching the warm dawn sunshine. Collectively, craneflies are called Daddy Long-legs or Flying Daddy Long-legs, and although some of them appear to have a stinger, which is in fact the ovipositor of the female, they are harmless. The legs are very fragile and easily fall off if handled, which maybe an escape mechanism to evade capture.

The larvae are commonly called Leatherjackets, and they live just below the surface of the soil feeding on the roots of grasses, and can become a pest where crops are grown.

It can be seen June to October, and is found in fields, parks and gardens. It is common and widespread throughout.

Photograph of European Crane Fly (Tipula paludosa), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.