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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!

14 March, 2016

Tipula maxima: the giant cranefly

I am sure nearly everyone will be familiar with the 'daddy-long-legs' crane fly that is common in gardens in late summer and is attracted by the lights in houses. This is a close relative, its country cousin, Tipula maxima
There are several species of crane fly and this one is the largest found in the United Kingdom, indeed, in western Europe hence the common name of the giant crane fly although giant may be something of an exaggeration! Rather than gardens it is mainly found in damp areas around marshes, bogs or wet woodlands. They can be encountered from April right through until August.
I have never considered the daddy-long-legs to be a beautiful creature but just look at the markings on those wings! It is also very well disguised as its perches on the heather to get warmth to enable it to fly. When it does fly it is something of a cumbersome effort and they do not go far in each flight and never gain much height. 

Tipula maxima: the giant cranefly