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Ptychoptera contaminata

Ptychoptera contaminata is a member of a small family named Ptychopterid Craneflies. In Northern America this family is also known as Phantom Craneflies. Ptychopterid Craneflies are elongated longlegged flies, very similar to Tiger Craneflies: shiny, and black with yellow or orange markings. In Britain there are only 5 species or so. The adult flies are hard to tell apart from other craneflies. The main difference is in the veins in the wings. Also Ptychopterid Craneflies have small affixes near the base of the halters. The larvae however are readily identified. They are elongated leather jackets with a tube attached to the rear of the body. They live among litter in shallow waters and the tube is used to breath by sticking it out of the water.

Ptychoptera contaminata measures some 9 mm. The females are much bigger than the males are. The adult craneflies are shiny and black. On the body are orange or yellowish spots. The wings show some black spots as well, the largest of all is right in the middle. The scutellum (shield) is entirely or partly orange, as are the legs. The male is in the bottom pictures.

Ptychoptera contaminata is double-brooded and can be seen from April to September, at least in England. The biggest numbers usually are in May. This species is found near standing shallow waters. Common species in much of Britain. Present all over Europe, except for Portugal, Spain and most of the Balkans.