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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Diptera (true flies) | Tipulidae


Major Group: Insecta
In the Northern hemisphere, the three subfamilies are given family status (Evenhuis 2008). The Australian Zoological Catalogue (Bugledich 1999) indicates that "there is no obvious phylogenetic basis for such elevation of ranks." 

Descriptive Features:

  • head capsule complete and retractile into thorax or incomplete
  • abdomen 8-segmented
  • Total length: up to 50mm


      Taxonomic Checklist: Subfamilies Genera
          *Stibadocerodes 2 species
          *Amphineurus 15 species
          Antocha 2 species
          *Atarba 13 species
          *Austrolimnophila 12 species
          *Baeoura 4 species
          *Bergrothomyia 3 species
          *Cheilotrichia 2 species
          *Collessophila chookachooka Theischinger
          *Conosia irrorata Wiedemann
          *Diemenomyia 2 species
          *Elephantomyia 2 species
          *Epiphragma 6 species
          Erioptera 13 species
          Gonomyia 24 species
          *Gymnastes 7 species
          *Gynoplistia 105 species
          Helius 12 species
          Hexatoma 4 species
          *Horistomyia4 species
          *Idiocera collessi Theischinger
          *Lechria 3 species
          *Leolimnophila 2 species
          Limnophila 68 species
          Limonia Meigen 134 species
          Molophilus 295 species
          Orimarga 3 species
          *Paralimnophila 59 species
          Pedicia 2 species
          Pilaria brooksi Alexander
          Rhabdomastix 4 species
          *Skuseomyia eximia Alexander
          *Sigmatomera 3 species
          *Styringomyia 2 species
          *Symplecta pilipes Fabricius
          *Tasiocera 23 species
          *Teucholabis 2 species
          *Trentepohlia 7 species
          *Tipulimnoea woodhilli Alexander
          *Tonnoirella gemella Alexander
          *Tonnoiromyia 3 species
          *Toxorhina 6 species
          *Acracantha 3 species 
          Brachypremna 2 species
          *Clytocosmus 6 species
          *Dolichopeza 46 species
          Holorusia 2 species
          *Ischnotoma 15 species
          Leptotarsus 76 species
          Megistocera filipes Weidemann
          *Nephrotoma 2 species
          *Platyphasia 7 species
          *Ptilogyna 24 species
          Tipula 3 species

      Distribution: Australia wide

      Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 5. Some aquatic larvae tolerate elevated salinities.

      Functional Feeding Group: shredders, gathering collectors, predators 


      Edward River at Werai State Forest, NSW

      Ecology: Tipulid adults are commonly known as ‘crane flies’.
      Instream habitat: Larvae occur in aquatic and semi-aquatic freshwater habitats such as marshes, slow-flowing or fast flowing waters, the hygropetric zone, interstitial sand or pebbles and in depositional areas. They are found on submerged wood, amongst leaf litter, fine sediments or mud. Some species can tolerate elevated salinities.
      Feeding ecology: Larvae of some Tipulidae species are predators. Larvae of other species feed on decaying organic matter, plant fragments and also micro-organisms.
      Habit: Larvae depend on atmospheric oxygen and so do not move far from the water surface. Pupae are also air-breathers so final instar larvae leave the water to pupate.
      Life history: Most of the following information relates to worldwide Tipulidae species. Crane fly adults are short-lived. In some species, especially of the subfamily Limoniinae, the males form mating swarms into which females are attracted. Oviposition occurs soon after mating. Some species insert their eggs directly into wet soil or algal mats, whereas others lay them on the water surface or drop them from the air. The egg stage lasts one to two weeks. Larvae pass through four instars with the larval stage lasting a short duration or almost one year. Most of the larval growth takes place in the first three instars. Final instar larvae leave the water to pupate in nearby soil, moss, or litter. The pupal stage lasts for one to two weeks. A pharate (transition) adult phase occurs just prior to the final moult to the adult proper. Oceania species display summer as well as winter diapause of certain stages and depending on the species and environmental conditions, the entire life cycle may last from six weeks to six years. This may or may not apply to Australian Tipulidae species. Worldwide temperate tipulid species are typically univoltine, although they may also be bivoltine. At higher altitudes the life cycle is often spread over two years (semivoltine). For species living in intermittent habitats, the life cycle is usually synchronized with changes in the environment.


      Information Sources: Bugledich 1997 & 1999, Hawking & Smith 1997
      Key to Subfamilies: none
      Key to Genera: none
      Key to Species:  none