3. Crane Flies

--C.P. Alexander
--Web Resources
--Selected Journal Articles and Books
--Societies & Associations
--Museum & Library Collections
--Researchers on the Web


Jon Gelhaus explains that "the crane fly families Tipulidae, Limoniidae and Cylindrotomidae make up the superfamily Tipuloidea; together they constitute over 15,000 described species with estimates of 10-15,000 species remaining to be described...The families have been traditionally treated as a single family, the Tipulidae s.l., in American and British literature. Crane fly adults are long-legged, slender bodied flies, while larvae inhabit a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats and exhibit a broad range of feeding strategies. Crane flies can make up a significant portion of the biodiversity in edges of aquatic habitats, and adults, whether from terrestrial or aquatic habitats, generally congregate along aquatic environments."

Keep in mind, as described above, that there are two different naming conventions for crane flies: one for Anglo-America and one for Europe. British and American entomologists generally place all crane flies into the family Tipulidae, while European entomologists designate crane flies as making up a super-family, Tipuloidea, with three families, Tipulidae, Limoniidae, and Cylindrotomidae.



Web Resources

--Photo Gallery: Primitive Crane Fly / Crane Fly1 / Crane Fly2 / Crane Fly Larva / Tipula Simplex / Tipula Paludosa / Tipula Absominalis / Tipula Paludosa Larva /

--Australian Faunal Directory

This project attempts to compile a database of all Australian animal species. The entry for Tipulidae includes an introduction with references and a bibliography. Clickable links lead finally to the species level where taxonomy, geographic distribution, and the discoverer are given. Some descriptions include maps.

--Biosystematic Database of World Diptera

"The BioSystematic Database of World Diptera (BDWD) contains both authoritative and work records. Some of the names in the BDWD have been reviewed by experts and certified to the highest scientific standards. Most names have not been reviewed by experts nor certified." Created in response to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1994, this database, still under construction, aims to create in one location a record of all diptera that have been identified. In addition to searching by nomenclature, there will also soon be a databases for species and references.

--Craneflies. (1999, October 11). Washington, DC: United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved February 12, 2001 from the World Wide Web:›

This is the EPA's entry for crane flies in its Biological Indicators of Watershed Health site. The crane fly "indicates moderately clean water; seldomly found in polluted waters." In addition, there are numerous links to other sites concerning bioassessment.

--Evenhuis, N. L. (1994). Fossil Diptera Tipulidae. Honolulu, HI: Department of Natural Science, Bishop Museum. Retrieved March 1, 2001 from the World Wide Web:
http://www.bishopmuseum.org/bishop/ento/fossilcat/fossntipul.html (Tipulidae)
http://www.bishopmuseum.org/bishop/ento/fossilcat/fosslimoniidae.html (Limoniidae)
http://www.bishopmuseum.org/bishop/ento/fossilcat/fosscylindro.html (Cylindrotomidae)

This is the Tipulidae entry for the Fossil Diptera Catalog at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. There are two schools of classification for this family of diptera: the Anglo-American in which the Tipulidae are lumped into one category, and the European in which the family is broken into three different categories. The Fossil Diptera Catalog follows the European convention, thus the above three entries. This site provides the fossill record of diptera, with genus, species, date of discovery, the discoverer and the geologic age of the fossil.

--Fowler, K. C. (2000). Tipula: Crane flies. Discover Life. Retrieved March 10, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

This paper provides some general information on crane flies including some specific species information. The resources used by the author are included in a bibliography.

--HYPP: Hyperm»dia en protection des plantes (1998). Paris: INRA. Retrieved March 10, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

From the (French) Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, this site provides information on "pests" of Western Europe that prey on agricultural products. The entry for Tipulidae gives a brief description of the family, as well as links to a definition of "thorax", descriptions of the order diptera, and a detailed description of the marsh crane fly (Tipula paludosa), which includes its biology, life cycle, damage, and a number of fine images.

--Johns, P. M. (2000). Tipulidae species 2000 checklist. Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand School of Forestry, University of Canterbury. Retrieved February 19, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

Beyond the lengthy alphabetical list of Tipulidae species, this web site includes some physical desciptive notes regarding certain species.› The list seems to be focused on species found primarily in New Zealand.› Note: This list differs from OosterbroekŪs in its treatment of the Limonia genus.

--Lackawanna River True Flies. (2000, March 21). Lackawanna River Corridor Association. Retrieved February 22, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

The Lackawanna River Corridor Association in Pennsylvania "was created by local citizens in 1987 to promote the restoration and conservation of the Lackawanna River and its watershed resources." This page contains very fine images of the larvae of five different families of diptera, the first of which is of the crane fly.

--Lyon, W.F. (2001). Fact sheets from Ohio State University: Midges and crane flies. Ohio: Ohio State University. Retrieved March 1, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

This information is provided by the School of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences for both homeowners and farmers. Included are short sections on indentification, life cycle and habits, control measures, prevention, and insecticides.

--Oosterbroek, P. (2000). Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian Regions: Tipulidae. Retrieved March 10 from the World Wide Web:

Written by Pjotr Oosterbroek, this page introduces the family Tipulidae and then lists the species that have been found.

--Oosterbroek, P. (1999). Family TIPULIDAE. In Neal L. Evenhuis (Ed.), Catalog of the Diptera of the Australasian and Oceanian regions (Chapter 2).› Retrieved February 19, 2001 from the World Wide Web:

This page presents a classification of the Tipulidae that is based heavily upon the work of Charles P. Alexander.› Breaks down the Tipulidae into genus, subgenus, and species levels.› It is part of a much larger catalog of families of the Diptera order occuring in Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and the Pacific.›

--Sear, Dexter.› Bugbios.› Retrieved February 26, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.insects.org/entophiles/diptera/dipt_003.html

A very brief synopsis of Tipulidae, but a very interesting site on insects in general.

--Wiegmann, B. M. & Yeates, D. K. (1997, January 16). Diptera: True Flies. Retrieved February 19, 2000 from the World Wide Web:

This is a good introduction to diptera, with an introduction and discussion on the characteristics, major groupings, and phylogenetic relationships.



Selected Jounal Articles and Books

Journal Articles

Brodo, F. (1995). Analysis and additions to the crane fly fauna of Finse, south Norway (Diptera: Tipulidea [Tipuloidea]). Fauna Norvegica Series B, 42 (1), 11-20.

Buzby, K. M, Gelhaus, J. K. & Masteller, E. C. (1993). Emergence composition and phenology of Tipulidae (Diptera) from a tropical rainforest stream at El Verde, Puerto Rico. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 66 (2), 160-166.

de Jong, H. (1987). Keys for the identification of the Tipuloidea (Insecta, Diptera) recorded for the Canary Islands. Eos-Revista Espanola de Entomologia, 63, 73-92.

de Jong, H. (1994). The phylogeny of the subgenus Tipula (Savtshenkia) (Diptera: Tipulidae), with special reference to the western Mediterranean fauna. Tijdschrift Voor Entomologie, 37 (2), 271-323.

Dufour, C. (1991). The identity of Tipula (Emodotipula) saginata Bergroth and T. (E.) obscuriventris Strobl, and the description of Tipula (E.) leo sp. n. from the Sierra Nevada in Spain (Diptera, Tipulidae). Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 64 (1-2), 81-91.

Dufour, C. (1983). Tipula (Savtshenkia) tulipa sp. n. from the xerothermic valleys of the Swiss Alps (Diptera: Tipulidae). Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 56 (3-4), 275-281.

Dufour, C. (1992). High altitude Tipulidae in Switzerland (Diptera, Nematocera). ACTA Zoologica Cracoviensia, 35, 113-134.

Dufour, C. B. J. (1984). Les differentes etapes de la perte de l'aptitude au vol chez les tipulides et les limonides (Diptera, Nematocera) vivant sous climat froid. Bulletin D'Ecologie, 15 (3), 185-198.

Gelhaus, J. K. (1986). Larvae of the crane fly genus Tipula in North America (Diptera tipulidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 53 (3), 121-182.

Gelhaus, J. K. & Livingston, M. E. (1993). Further observations on the emergence composition and phenology of crane flies (Diptera: Tipulidae) from a tropical rain forest stream at El Verde, Puerto Rico. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 66 (4), 405-410.

Gelhaus, J. K. & Teale, S. A. (1984). Natural history and synonomy of Tipula (Vestiplex) platymera Walker (Diptera: Tipulidae) with descriptions of the larvae and pupae. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 57 (3), 423-429.

Gelhaus, J. K. & Welch, N. (1994). A new species of Helius crane fly (Diptera: Tipulidae) with reduced antennae, from Aripo Caves, Trinidad. Entomological News, 105 (3), 125-132.

Grimaldi, D. & Young, C. (1992). Observations on the bizarre jelly mass habit of larval Geranomyia (Diptera: Tipulidae: Limoniinae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society, 100 (4), 634-637.

Johnson, R. & Gelhaus, J. K. (1996). First record of crane flies (Tipulidae: Limoniinae) in Upper Cretaceous amber from New Jersey, U.S.A. Transactions of the American Entomological Society (Phildelphia), 122 (1), 55-65.

Lauzon, M. & Harper, P. P. (1985). The crane fly fauna of a Laurentian woodland, with special reference to the aquatic species (Diptera: Tipulidae). Revue D'Entomologie du Quebec, 30 (1-2), 3-22.

Oosterbroek, P. (1994). Notes on western Palaearctic species of the Tipula (Yamatotipula) lateralis group, with the description of a new species from Turkey (Diptera: Tipulidae). European Journal of Entomology, 91 (4), 429-435.

Oosterbroek, P., Theowald, B. & Dufour, C. (1982). The zoogeography of the western Palaearctic Tipulidae (Diptera). Part 4: the Tipulidae of Corsica and Sardinia with a note on Dolichopeza fuscipes Bergroth. Mitteilungen der Schweizerischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft, 55 (3-4), 317-332.

Oosterbroek, P., Theowald, B. & Dufour, C. (1989). 2. Superfamily Tipuloidea. Family Tipulidae. Bishop Museum Special Publication, 86, 53-116.

Podenas, S. (1994). Crane-flies (Diptera: Tipulidae) of Lithuania. Vilniaus Universitetas Biologija Mokslo Darbu Rinkinys, 31, 16-22.

Podenas, S. & Gelhaus, J. (2000). A new species of long-palped crane fly in the subgenus Tipula (Odonatisca) (Diptera: Tipulidae) from Mongolia. Transactions of the American Entomological Society (Phildelphia), 126 (1), 109-115.

Sullivan, D. J. & Knizeski, H. M. Jr. (1984). Temporal distribution of crane flies (Diptera: Tipulidae) in a southern New York woodland. Canadian Entomologist, 116 (8), 1137-1144.

Teskey, H. J. & Krzeminski, W. (1987). New taxa of Limoniidae (Diptera: Nematocera) from Canadian amber. Canadian Entomologist, 119 (10), 887-892.

Theowald, B. & Oosterbroek, P. (1991). Phylogeny of the Tipuloidea based on characters of larvae and pupae (Diptera, Nematocera): with an index to the literature except Tipulidae. Tijdschrift Voor Entomologie, 134 (2), 211-267.

Wrage, H. A. (1978). Uber Structur und Abwandlung der Stelzenmucken-Populationen im Okosystem 'Salzwiese' der Nordseekuste (Limoniidae, Diptera, Nematocera). Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft fuer Allgemeine und Angewandte Entomologie, 1 (2-4), 220-223.

Young, C. W. (1978). Comparison of the crane flies (Diptera: Tipulidae) of two woodlands in eastern Kansas, with a key to the adult crane flies of eastern Kansas. University of Kansas Science Bulletin, 51 (12), 407-440.

Young, C. W. (1999). New species and immature instars of crane flies of subgenus Tipulodina Enderlein from Sulawesi (Insecta: Diptera: Tipulidae: Tipula). Annals of the Carnegie Museum, 68 (2), 81-90.

Young, C. W., Onore, G. & Proano, K. (1999). First occurrence of Tipula (Tipula) oleracea. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 72 (2), 226-232.

Young, C.W. & Gelhaus. J. K. (1991). The immature instars and biology of the crane fly genus Brachypremna Osten Sacken (Diptera: Tipulidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 93 (3), 613-621.

Young, C. W. & Gelhaus, J. K. (1995). Pupae of the crane fly genus Leptotarsus (Diptera: Tipulidae) in the New World, with discussion of the monophyly of the genus. Annals of the Carnegie Museum, 64 (2), 135-145.


Brodo, Fenja. (1987). Revision of the genus Prionocera (Diptera, Tipulidae). Chicago, IL: Evolutionary Monographs.

Byers, G. W. (1984). Tipulidae (Chapter 24, pp. 491-514) In R. W. Merrit & K. W. Cummins (Eds.) An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects, 2nd ed. (pp. 219-223). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Dickinson, W. E. (1939). Crane-flies of Wisconsin, by W. E. Dickinson; with a description of a new species by C. P. Alexander. Milwaukee, WI: Public Museum of the city of Milwaukee.

Garrett, C. B. D. (1925). Seventy new Diptera; key to the Pseudoleria Helomyzidae. Cipulidae, Chiromidae (1), Dixinae, Orphnephilidae, Mycetophilidae. Cranbrook, B. C., Cranbrook Courier Print.

Gelhaus, J. K. (1989). Systematics and biogeography of the desert crane fly subgenus Tipula (Eremotipula). Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Kansas, Entomology.

Loew, H. (1862-73). Monographs of the Diptera of North America. Prepared for the Smithsonian Institution. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.›

Scudder, S. H. (1894). Tertiary Tipulidae: with special reference to those of Florissant, Colorado. [Philadelphia : American Philosophical Society].

Young, C. & Gelhaus, J. (2000). Crane flies of Pennsylvania : preliminary checklist and database development with emphasis on aquatic species [Pennsylvania: s.n.]›



Societies & Associations

--The following is a listing of the major entomological societies, associations, and organizations in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, England, and Canada. Every State in the United States, as well as every territory and province in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, has their own local entomological society. For listings of these organizations, as well as other international entomological organizations, please see the Directory of Entomological Societies created by Scientific Reference Resources: http://www.sciref.org/links/EntSoc/main.htm.

Entomological Society of America

American Board of Forensic Entomology

The American Entomological Society

Association of Applied Insect Ecologists

Center for Systematic Entomology, Inc.

Pacific Coast Entomological Society

Entomological Society of Cananda

Western Australian Insect Study Society, Inc.

Entomological Society of New Zealand

The Amateur EntomologistsŪ Society

The British Entomological and Natural History Society



Museum & Library Collections

Museums and Special collections containing Tipulidae

--Invertebrate Zoology Collections at Carnegie Museum of Natural History http://www.clpgh.org/cmnh/iz/unicol.htm

The insect collection contains an estimated 13 million specimens of which 6,900,000 are prepared, labelled and ready for study. Primary strength is Lepidoptera and Coleoptera, but does have a strong collection in Diptera (approximately 5.5% of the collection), which includes various types of Tipulidae.

--Cornell University Insect Collection

There is a long history of Diptera holdings at Cornell University. The Diptera are housed in 980 drawers (approximately 9% of the pinned collection). It is worldwide in scope, and is particularly strong for eastern North America. A recent inventory revealed over 700 primary types, and over 1100 secondary types. Tipulidae account for about 17 drawers in the collection.

--The Academy of Natural Sciences

The Insect Collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences contains over 3 million specimens, including 13,000 primary types, and has one of the most important holdings of Orthoptera in the world.

--Entomology and Arachnology-University of Colorado http://www.colorado.edu/CUMUSEUM/research/entomology/entomology.html

The Entomology Collection at the University of Colorado Museum contains approximately 500,000 insect and 50,000 arachnid specimens dating back to the 1870's. The Entomology Collection is rich in material from the Rocky Mountain Region, but also contains specimens from throughout the United States and other parts of the world, including Mexico, Tunisia and New Guinea. The collection includes 70 families of Diptera, in which 23 Genera of Tipulidae are represented.

--Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County- Entomology Section

The insect collection of the LACM is the largest in southern California, and ranked approximately 10th in size in North America. Its strengths are in material from California, Mexico and Central America, but include worldwide representation for many groups. The collection houses 21 families of Diptera including Tipulidae.

--University of Wisconsin, Madison Entomology Department Insect Research Collection

The IRC contains about one million pinned and preserved insects with primary geographic emphasis on Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region. Diptera (including Tipulidae) make up about 17% of the collection.

--University of Queensland Insect Collection

The UQIC is a research collection first started in the 1920's by F.A. Perkins, the first lecturer in entomology at the University of Queensland. The collection consists of more than 700,000 specimens of insects and related arthropods and contains material from all Australian states and territories and a limited amount of foreign material. The orders best represented are Coleoptera, Diptera and Hymenoptera. The Diptera collection contains 19 Genera of Tipulidae.

--Maurice T. James Entomological Collection- Washington State University

The M. T. James Entomological Collection houses just over 1.25 million specimens of insects and related arthropods as well as a significant library and collection of photographic slides. Diptera represent the largest holdings with just over 500,000 specimens. The collection of Tipulidae includes representatives of the first specimens collected in the Pacific Northwest.

--Ohio State University- Museum of Biological Diversity

The Ohio State niversity Museum of Biological Diversity emphasis has been on the orders Coleoptera and Homoptera, but its holdings does contain several Genera of Tipulidae.

--Swedish Museum of Natural History- Entomology department

The Swedish Museum of Natural History contains 6185 speciesof Diptera (over 40 different Genera of Tipulidae) as of 25 May 2000 representing about 5% of the world fauna.

--Texas A & M University Insect Collection

The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University is home to the largest and fastest growing insect collection in the south-central and southwestern United States. At the end of 1997, the collection housed an estimated 1.55 million specimens. Some specific areas of strength of the collection are: Coleoptera (especially Chrysomelidae and Curculionidae), Diptera (especially muscoid Diptera), Heteroptera (especially Miridae) and Hymenoptera (especially Chalcidoidea, Braconidae and Ichneumonidae). The Diptera collection contains 1 genus of Tipulidae and 10 identified sub-species.

--The University of Guelph Insect Collection

The University of Guelph Insect Collection has its roots in the insect collection of the Entomological Society of Ontario, founded in 1863. It is the oldest insect collection in Canada. In addition to its strong collection of Ontario insects, it houses an excellent collection of Diptera from around the world, including 2,232 pinned psecimens of Tipulidae.

--University of Michigan Museum of Zoology- Insect Division

The collection of Tipulidae, built by J.S. Rogers, is extensive in that, although largely limited to species from eastern North America, it contains a large series of specimens of each species and the finest collection of reared larvae and pupae in the world. Other dipteran groups well represented by North and Central American material include the Tabanidae, Bombyliidae, Dolichopodidae, Syrphidae, Stratiomyidae and Asilidae.

--For additional listings of museums and special collections that contain Diptera, Iowa State University has created an Entomology Index of Internet Resources. This site is a directory and search engine for insect-related resources on the Internet. The index can be found at http://www.ent.iastate.edu/list/ .

Researchers on the Web

--Dufour, C. & Haenni, J. P. (2001). Entomologie: Christophe Dufour et Jean-Paul Haenni. Mus»um d'histoire naturelle, Neuchatel. Retrieved from the World Wide Web: http://www.ne.ch/neuchatel/mhn/scientifique/entomologie.htm

--Evenhuis, N. L. (2001). Email Address List for Diptera Systematists. Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum: World Diptera Systematists Home Page. Retrieved February 19, 2001 from the World Wide Web: http://www.bishop.hawaii.org/bishop/ento/dipterists/diptera-email.html

--Young, C. (2001]). Section of Invertebrate Zoology Staff: Dr. Chen Young, Associate Curator. Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Retrieved February 19, 2001 from the World Wide Web:
(Click on Staff link to access Dr. YoungŪs web page.)