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Crane Fly (T oleracea)

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A familiar crane fly species particularly abundant in May and June rather than in the autumn.


Crane Fly: Tipula oleracea

Post date: Sunday, 3 January, 2016 - 00:00

If you think identifying little brown birds is difficult, there are far more taxing issues! And once you have sorted out common milkwort from chalk milkwort have a go at crane flies ... Tipula oleracea has 13 segments in its antennae and Tipula paludosa has 14! Otherwise they are 'very alike'. 

The thing is, though, that physical features are not the only guide to identification and we often forget that. Tipula oleracea is around between April and October and Tipula paludosa from, errr, April to October. However, Tipula oleracea is abundant in May and June whereas Tipula paludosa is abundant in the autumn. As a result, as I photographed this one in May I can be fairly certain that this is Tipula oleracea and not Tipula paludosa even though I cannot clearly see the number of segments in the antennae. If anyone wishes to query my judgement then go ahead but be sure of your facts!
Actually, Tipula oleracea is slightly bigger than its cousin because the wings are the same length as the body, in Tipula paludosa the wings are shorter than the body. This is not always obvious in the field but in my photograph you can see the wings are the same length as the body even though they are outstretched so Tipula oleracea it is.

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Common Name Crane Fly (T oleracea)
Scientific Name Tipula oleracea
Interest Level
Species Family Crane flies
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species