Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cranefly or daddy-long-legs

If you can detect a cranefly, you must have a third eye.

Dr Abe V Rotor 
 Crane Fly (Tipula sp), Family Tipulidae, Order Diptera 

 This is a rare specimen I caught at home. It is a very curious one, although it is quite familiar; it is a relative of the mosquito. It is also rare because its size is much bigger than the ordinary cranefly we often called daddy-long-legs.*
Compound eye of cranefly, typical of insects which have a pair of multi-facet eyes in addition to a simple eye or two.  Right, closeup of a similar specimen of Tipula sourced from the Internet 

The cranefly undergoes four stages - egg, larva called maggot, pupa and adult. The maggot feeds on crops and pasture grass but it inflicts little damage. The adults emerge and swarm in the evening. They have queer body structure and movement. 

Craneflies are clumsy fliers, mainly because they have only one pair of wings for flying. That is why they are classified Diptera - two wings. The pair of hindwings are reduced into halteres or balancers which look like stubs or knobs.

When at rest, craneflies shake continuously in all directions that they become virtually invisible to their enemies. This unique mechanism has not been fully studied.

Among the Arachnids, members of the Pholcidae family are also called daddy-long-legs spiders. Their presence is known to be worldwide. Here are two species of harvestman spiders. The one at the right appears hazy and blurred as seen when it is in continuous shaking motion. (Acknowledgement: Internet, Wikipedia)  

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