Crane Flies refer to any members of the insect family Tipulidae of the order Diptera. They look like mosquitos, with their long legs, slender abdomen and a single pair of wings. Their legs are deciduous, meaning that they are easily detached. They are poor fliers, often seen in gardens, many dangling from a single strand of spider’s web by their forelegs and waving their hind legs rhythmically whenever a breeze blows through.
Dr Leon Tzi Ming has this to say: “Yes these are craneflies alright. I have seen similar instances in parks and in the forest, but have been unable to identify them nor find out more about their unique behaviour. Shows how much we still don’t know about our local entomological diversity!”
The only reference I managed to locate is Skaife (1997), a South African publication. These are male craneflies indulging in their mating ritual to attract females – see video below.
These flies also form dense clouds dancing in the air, again in order to attract females. Once a female comes along, she will be pounced upon by the swarming males and brought to a branch or leaf where mating will take place.
Crane Flies feed on flower nectar, if they feed at all. The adults live for a very short time, to mate before dying.
YC Wee & Dr Leong Tzi Ming
16th May 2017
Skaife, S. H., 1997. African insect life. (5th Impression, revised by J. Ledger). Struik Publishers, Capetown. 279 pp.