Marsh Crane Fly

Tipula oleracea

Marsh Crane Fly, Crane Flies, Daddy Long Legs, Leather jacket

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Tipula oleracea, or the European Marsh Crane Fly, can easily be recognised by it's long, stilt-like legs, giving them the common name, daddy long legs. The larvae of marsh flies are sometimes called leather jackets. These are known to eat rotting plant material, so can sometimes be problematic. T. paludosa is primarily a grassland species, but they can end up in gardens and allotments too. Symptoms can vary depending on the plant affected, with stem severance reported in crops and browning of lawns and grasses. In the UK and Europe symptoms arise from early spring, through to late autumn. The adult flies can be seen from late summer to early autumn. They lay eggs just below the soil surface near plants.
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Appearance

Adult: The adult Leatherjacket, known as the crane fly, has wings. The bodies are about 3cm with legs longer than the body's length. Larvae: Leather jackets look like plump, brown maggots. They're brownish-grey with wrinkly skins.

Symptoms

Active from early spring, through to late autumn. Turf and lawns brown and become patchy. Turf can be pulled out of lawns easiy. Stunted growth Plant death Large birds pecking at the ground may damage lawns further. Damage most severe in seedlings in the spring.

Activity

Nocturnal

Personality

Order

Diptera

Family

Tipulidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Europe and North America

Biological treatment

In flowerbeds and the vegetable garden, the soil is best dug over regularly to expose the Leatherjackets to garden predators. For lawns, a possible way to reduce numbers of Leatherjackets is to water the turf well and then cover with black plastic for 24 hours. After this time, remove the plastic, and the Leatherjackets should be on the turf surface, becoming exposed to predators.

Chemical treatment

None available

Attracts

Grasses and vegetable and cereal crops.
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