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 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.