Tipula paludosa: the autumn crane fly

In autumn countless 'Daddy-long-legs' appear; they all seem to hatch about the same time in one huge awakening. Tipula paludosa is probably the most common species of crane fly in Britain, especially in the atuumn. We get a good number in the garden and around the house, they seem attracted to light in the same way moths are.
It has a close cousin, Tipula oleracae, which is more common in spring and early summer. The two species look much the same but my book says oleracae has 13 segments in its antennae and paludosa 14. Try counting them without a microscope ...! Tipula paludosa also has wings that are shorter than its body whereas oleracae has wings as long as the body. Armed with these basic facts it becomes possible to tell the two species apart if they are at rest which during the day they often are.
The larvae of the two species are the crop damaging leatherjackets which are a favourite delicacy for Rooks and Jackdaws.
Tipula paludosa: the autumn crane fly

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