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.