Craneflies, Gnats & Midges



True flies (order Diptera) are an immense group with over 100,000 known species. They all have their hind pair of wings reduced to pin-shaped structures called halteres which act as gyroscopes to maintain balance in flight. Most feed on liquids, including nectar and blood.

This group of Craneflies, Gnats & Midges includes fly species that are in the dipteran sub-order Nematocera - the most ancient of the three fly sub-orders meaning they were the first to evolve. Fly species in these families all typically have reduced wing venation or wing veins that radiate to the margin and lack a closed anal cell. They are mainly lightly-built flies with long legs and long antennae.

Craneflies are often large, familar insects - sometimes known as 'daddy long-legs'.

Leicestershire and Rutland Resources

The Craneflies of Leicestershire and Rutland - John Kramer

Other Useful Websites and Publications


The Dipterist's Forum offers a huge range of support.

Cranefly Recording Scheme cribs sheets and keys - a forum with some photos but best used to get identification help. Just upload an image and be surprised how quickly you get a response.

Fly anatomy  - a fascinating and interactive guide to the technical bits that make up a fly! If you're serious about identifying flies it is necessary to understand the terms used.


Shropshire Craneflies - an excellent book (most of the Craneflies found in Shropshire are also found in Leicestershire and Rutland)

If you know of other websites or books that you would recommend, do let us know:

Recording Schemes

As with all records, any submissions you make to NatureSpot will be automatically forwarded to both local and national recording schemes.