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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

15 February, 2016

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