Random Ramblings

Random Ramblings: Personal observations on a wide variety of subjects. Photographs of creatures and things that are taken on seeing the unusual as well as everyday things.

Ghostly gossamer

One of the very first flies that I learnt the name of was the beautiful crane-fly. It danced around the living room so gracefully with its long legs dangling downwards. It looked rather like a lost dragonfly - bouncing off ceiling and wall until it eventually found an open window and took off into the Summer breeze. Children affectionately called these wonderful flies ‘daddy-long-legs.’ I used to think that there was just one species of crane-fly but in fact, in Britain alone there are over 300 different varieties. The majority of crane-flies are very small and are often mistaken for mosquitoes.

Over the years I have noticed that the larger crane-flies appear to have the ability to produce a gossamer thread that is much finer than spider web. The gossamer is used by the fly to suspend itself from just over half-an-inch to one-and-a-half inches from a solid object. Once in this position the fly appears to sleep. This form of ‘suspended perching’ may well be a defence mechanism to protect itself from spiders. Occasionally, some crane-flies will suspend themselves with thread from one leg whilst the other front leg is bent and resting against the extended one.

Male crane-fly suspended on gossamer

Crane-fly hanging by gossamer threads

Male crane-fly suspended from ceiling handing by fine gossamer threads

The male crane-fly has a rounded bottom end whilst the female, which has the oviduct has a long pointed bottom end.


Ann said...

That does look like a mosquito. A daddy long legs here is a spider

Sandra Rose Hughes said...

In California, we call these mosquito hawks. Our Daddy Long Legs are a type of spider.


I must say, I'm not keen on insects......

Jean said...

I use to think they were monster mosquitoes. It was years before I learned they were harmless.
Same here about a daddy long legs being a spider.
Your photos are superb!

Kloggers/Polly said...

Well here in good old Blighty, we use the term daddy-long-legs for both the crane-fly and the large legged spider. This presumably began years ago by parents to assure their children that both the spider and the fly are harmless. We are fortunate as native spiders are all harmless with only one species being able to penetrate the skin, I believe, which is the zebra spider but this is not poisonous. We do have a few nasty flies gnats, mosquitoes and horseflies being the worst offenders.
There are reports of other spiders and flies creeping in with climate change and the Channel Tunnel - not to mention the odd stowaway in fruits and vegetables!

Keith said...

a trip to the moon on gossamer w`ings, just one of those things. thank you for this delightful blog