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One of a large family of thin-bodied, long-legged, long-winged and generally anorexic-looking insects of the genus tipulidae. Very common in England (can't vouch for the rest of the world, although I don't remember ever seeing one whilst travelling).

Crane flies are often known as 'daddy-long-legs', and are, as far as I can make out, the only insect species to earn this name (there are several varieties of spiders and similar creatures apparently also known by the name, although not where I come from).

In the contest for 'most bloody irritating insect' the crane fly is a strong contender. They are harmless but, due presumably to their quite strong - unless you look properly and count legs - resemblance to large flying spiders, terrify many people, and are second only to the genus Things That Sting in their capacity to throw an entire room into panic by appearing. They are both as stupidly blind to windows and as impossible to catch as any small flying thing and, once captured, tend to shed legs at an alarming rate, meaning that by the end of summer there are a great many two-legged ones staggering around lopsidedly.

Despite not making any noise themselves, these beasties are quite capable of making plenty by artificial means. Their technique? They fly around whichever room they are currently occupying banging legs, wings and heads against walls, furniture and lampshades (and deity-of-choice help you if you have one of those globular lampshades that trap things) and make an amazingly loud rattle. This, combined with their love of molesting the faces of innocent humans, makes it almost impossible to sleep in a room with one in.

Apart from that, they're fine.

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