European Crane Fly

The European Crane Fly (Tipula paludosa) is a large insect in the Tipulidae family of crane flies. It is also known as the Marsh Crane Fly.

The European Crane Fly looks like a giant mosquito. It has six very long, thin, fragile legs. The legs easily drop off and re-grow. Its abdomen is long and grey, or brown, or dull yellow, sometimes with a central dark mark along its body. The male has a swollen tip on the end of his abdomen and the female has an ovipositor at the end of her abdomen, which is a tube to lay eggs. It has a large pair of translucent wings.

European Crane Fly

The European Crane Fly has long, black antennae with up to 19 segments. Its nose, called a snout or a rostrum, has a beak-like tip, and the apical segment is long and protruded. Its compound eyes are large and dark.

It grows to about 3 centimetres (one inch) in length, with a wingspan of 1-6 centimetres (up to 2 inches). 

It is found worldwide, with the European species found across all countries in Europe. It can be seen from May to October. It prefers grasslands.

The female lays eggs in moist soil, and they hatch into larvae. The elongated larvae (grubs) feed on plant roots and algae. They are also often found near freshwater ponds. The larvae are called leatherjackets. Many animals eat crane fly larvae, such as other insects (especially mosquito larvae), spiders, fish, amphibians, birds, and mammals. The larvae grow and become adult crane flies.

The adult Crane Fly does not usually eat at all. It does not have mouthparts to enable it to kill and eat food. It sometimes sips nectar.

The adult European Crane Fly has a lifespan of 10-15 days. 

European Crane Fly
European Crane Fly
European Crane Fly
European Crane Fly
European Crane Fly
European Crane Fly
European Crane Fly
European Crane Fly

Location: Paris, France 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls

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