Introduction and Characteristics

Species of the Family  Tipulidae, also known as  crane flies, make up the largest  family in the Order Diptera which are the true flies. In North America alone, more than 1,500 species have been identified. The genus Tipula  contains roughly 495 terrestrial  species (Koenig and Young 2007). The crane flies are commonly mistaken for mosquitoes,  but most are actually much larger.  

 Unlike mosquitoes that feed on blood, crane flies do not feed on blood (Nutrition for more information) (Chew et al. 2008).  They are characterized by elongated bodies, a pair of narrow wings, and long, legs (Young 2008). The crane flies are also called Daddy-long-legs but  do not use their legs for walking, but for hanging from plants. Their hind wings are also reduced into club-shaped halters (Chew et al. 2008).    

The adults of the Order Diptera are weak fliers and are attracted to lights (Arthur and Garrison 2004). Distinctive features include a prominent V-Shaped suture or fold on the dorsal side of the thorax between the wings. Males have long  feathery or toothed antennae and females have shorter antennae. The halters are also prominent in the crane flies (Swan and Papp 1972). An interesting trait in Tipula submaculata is that in both sexes there are ringed antennae (American Insects 2009). Also all crane flies lack ocelli (Young 2008).  

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