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UK Nature  > Flies  > Tipula maxima

Scientific Name:   Tipula maxima
Common Name:   Crane Fly

Tipula maxima, a Crane Fly or Daddy Long Legs (in the UK), is the largest of the crane flies found in the UK, measuring anything up to 40-50mm in length and with a leg span of 100mm or more. As with all crane flies, they have very fragile legs, which can easily break off during handling.

The male has a swollen tip to his abdomen, but the female (shown here) has a pointed tip which she uses to push her eggs into the soil. Similar to many other flies, their early development is in an aquatic environment. The female will lay her eggs in the damp edges of ponds, ditches and streams. Upon hatching, the larvae then convert to a life underwater, breathing through their tails, which they poke above the surface of the water.

Adult flies rarely feed. They are on the wing for most of the year, but most common in autumn when they swarm over our lawns and come to lighted windows at night. They rest with their wings outstretched and are commonly seen on house and garden walls. Common and found throughout the UK.
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