I recently wrote a short piece about daddy-long-legs for a newsletter and I thought I would share here too!
What comes to mind when you think of daddy-long-legs? For me it’s those annoying spindly legged things that irritatingly fly around my room in the late summer evenings. Those are actually a type of crane fly.
Sometimes cellar spiders, being equally spindly legged, are referred to as daddy-long-legs, but for the most part daddy-long-legs are crane flies.
Crane flies are usually brown, black, or grey and sometimes have coloured markings. They have fragile slender bodies with elongated wings, and long thin legs that are shed very easily; anyone who’s had to pick them up can attest to that! You can view a photo of a crane fly HERE.
Adults have a lifespan of 10 to 15 days and spend their time mating and laying their eggs in grass.
If you’ve been bothered by these insects when they’re attracted to the lights in your home, you may have wondered what the point of them is. From what I’ve read, the answer is in the soil! The crane fly larvae are cylindrical grey grubs known as leather jackets. They live underground and feed on plant stems and roots – not very good for your lawn, but the larvae process organic material and increase microbial activity, so they can be important for the soil ecosystem.
In addition to that, Crane flies, in both adult and larvae form, are also food for many animals including birds.
So there it is, crane flies do some good stuff in the soil as grubs, and are food! I’m not sure this information will stop anyone squishing them though!
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