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.