Line Line
Ctenophora festiva

In Britain and Ireland we find 5 Ctenophora species. But Ctenophora festiva is not one of them. The name Ctenophora means something like "comb wearing", because of the big, comb like antennae of the males. The females have small wirelike antennae. The Ctenophora species are big, colourful and shiny craneflies. They look like Ptychopterid craneflies, but are much bigger and much more robust. They are among the most beautiful of all craneflies in Britain.

Ctenophora festiva is an impressive and big species. Males measure around 20 mm, females are bigger and measure up to 25 mm. The animals are shiny and black with yellow rings and spots. In the wing there is a big black spot. This spot doesn't reach the top of the wings though. The wings are partly yellowish or brownish. The legs are reddish brown and the upper two parts of the hind legs show a black ring.

The larvae are whitish and look like big maggots. They live in dead wood, possibly for two years. Ctenophora festiva may be on the wing from April to August, but usually is seen in May and the first half of June.

This is a species from Central Europe. The western border of its home ground runs through the Netherlands and Belgium, the eastern border through Lithuania. So it is not a British species, but it is common in the Balkans.