Crane Flies in mating ritual

on 3rd June 2017
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video grab

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.

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video grab

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.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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