One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1British The tough-skinned larva of a large crane fly. It lives in the soil, where it feeds on plant matter and can seriously damage the roots of grasses and crops.
- ‘A cultural control to use is covering a well-watered patch of grass overnight with a sheet of black plastic or a tarpaulin, so the leatherjackets rise to the surface into the moist space.’
- ‘For the past several years leatherjackets have been a problem for most coastal nurseries.’
- ‘In August gardeners may see clouds of daddy-long-legs emerging from lawns in the early morning and this, as well as the listed damage, are sure signs of leatherjacket infestation.’
- ‘These tiny nematodes will clear your lawn and flower beds of leatherjackets - without harming anything else.’
- ‘During the day, leatherjackets mostly stay underground, but on damp, warm nights they come to the surface to feed on the aboveground parts of many plants.’
2Any of a number of tough-skinned marine fishes.
- ‘The wharf's pylons are shrouded in vivid sponges, host crabs, nudibranchs and pygmy leatherjackets - tiny fish that hang on to weed or sponge by their teeth.’
- ‘Mosaic leatherjackets hovered, asleep in nearly every steel beam.’
- ‘There are four types of leatherjackets usually kept at the Marine Discovery Centre.’
- ‘The leatherjackets and wrasses continued their work below them, as tiny tubularia hydroids waved their tentacles from the hull.’
- ‘A solitary leatherjacket was spotted on the deck, and it relished biting into my finger, which was cut on some of the sharp metal deeper in the ship.’
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