Monday, 29 June 2015

Day 238 - Superly Cracking Spotted Craneflies

Spotted Craneflys (Nephrotoma appendiculata)
Hi all today's Day 238 and today's post is different to the last couple of ones. It's about something that you will regularly overlook. You might say, "oh, a fly." But not anything else. I, though, like to look at anything that I see and take photos of it. That's how I've done 238 days without running out, it's getting hard though! Anyway, the Spotted Cranefly is the perfect thing to write a post on today. I found these little beasties on our allotment.

So, here are the facts:

  • There are around 300 different species of Cranefly in the UK such as the Tiger Cranefly, Phantom Craneflies, Hairy-eyed Craneflies and of course the Spotted Cranefly.
  • Some of these are actually known as the Daddy-Long Legs. An interesting facts is that, although numerous websites tell you otherwise, they are not venomous.
  • This myth seems to come from the fact that 'Daddy long legs' are different species depending on where you come from. In the USA it means a Harvestmen spider (post on these coming soon). These were thought to be very poisonous but harmless to humans as their teeth were to short to bite us. This is also a myth!
  • Nephrotoma appendiculata is the Spotted Cranefly's Latin name. This is because their genus is Nephrotoma and their specific name is appendiculata.
  • Another Daddy Long Legs fact is that their species is very old. Fossil Cranefly's have been found which are at least 240 million years old.
Male close up
  • They are 13-15 mm long and their wingspan is a quite large 50 mm. That means their wings are more than half of a Goldcrest's.
  • The Spotted Cranefly's body is yellow with short, black stripes which, if their name is to be believed, makes them look spotted.
  • They can be found using their 5 cm wings throughout May to September in Woodlands, Gardens, Farmlands and Fields.
  • Their larvae are called Leatherjackets, and feed on the roots of grass whilst the adults, if they do feed, feed on plant stems such as Cow Parsley.
  • They have four life stages:  
  1. Eggs - laid on water plants which take about 3 days to hatch, 
  2. Larvae - which take around a month to grow to the next stage
  3. Pupa - not sure how long this stage takes
  4. Adult - this stage can last only a few days, they may not eat and only look to mate and lay eggs 
  • Contrary to what some people believe, including my Mum, the Daddy Long Legs are not blind. It's their steering that isn't so good. They are attracted to light though just like moths.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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