Daddy Longlegs

Tipula paludosa

  1. Wildlife
  2. Invertebrates
  3. Flies
  4. Daddy Longlegs

About

The Daddy Longlegs is actually a large type of cranefly, of which there are around 300 species in the UK. Familiar to all of us in its adult form as the gangly insect that flits around our homes in summer, the larvae of the Daddy Longlegs are grey grubs (also known as 'leatherjackets') which live underground, feeding on plants stems and roots. This habit makes them unpopular with gardeners as they can leave bare patches of lawn, and can also become agricultural pests. The adults are on the wing during the late summer and are common in gardens and fields, often coming indoors. They rarely feed at this time, concentrating on mating and laying their eggs amongst the grass.

How to identify

The adult Daddy Longlegs is a brown, long-bodied insect, with translucent wings and very long legs, which easily fall off if handled. As a group, craneflies are unmistakeable, although telling the different species apart can be very difficult and often requires a microscope.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Hot summers as a result of climate change can have a devastating impact on insects like the Daddy Longlegs, killing off the larvae. In turn, this has a negative effect on species that feed on such insects, particularly those that are already vulnerable like the Golden Plover. When it comes to feeding their chicks, there are just not enough adult craneflies emerging at the right time, so the chicks starve. The Wildlife Trusts are working to combat climate change by promoting their vision of a Living Landscape: a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country, which allow wildlife to move and adapt, and provide inspiring places for people too. You can support this greener future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

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Species information

Common name
Daddy Longlegs
Latin name
Tipula paludosa
Category
Invertebrates
Flies
Statistics
Body length: 1.6cm Leg length: 5cm
Conservation status
The Daddy Longlegs is common, but other species of cranefly are rare such as the River-shore Cranefly which is classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.