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Crane Fly Pest Profile

crane_fly_01 crane_fly_02Common Name:
Crane Fly

Scientific Name:
Tipula species

Order and Family:
Tipulidae, Crane Flies

Description:
3/8-2 1/2″ (8-65 mm), wingspan to 3″ (75 mm). Slender; abdomen longer than thorax and head combined. Grayish brown to golden, depending on species. Antennae with many segments, threadlike or narrowly feathery in males. Thorax has deep V-shaped crease above and acute or round point between wing bases. Females of some species wingless. Legs very slender, usually twice as long as body. Females have sharp ovipositor. Larva, 1/2-1 1/2″ (13-38 mm), is grayish to pale brown, depending on species.

Food:
Adult does not eat. Larva feeds on decaying vegetation, fungi, roots, leaves of emergent and terrestrial plants, and, less often, animal matter.

Life Cycle:
Slender eggs are usually laid in or on moist soil. Fully grown larvae pupate in soil or mud, where pupae usually overwinter. Adults emerge in spring. 1 or more generations a year.

Habitat:
Humid areas and wet ground, often near streams or lakes in mud or wet moss.

Range:
Worldwide.

Discussion:
Mating swarms of males “dance” above a bush or treetop waiting to seize females. Then each pair settles on foliage to mate. The larvae are often eaten by skunks and moles; adults are devoured by birds and bats. The Central Crane Fly (T. cunctans), 1/2-3/4″ (12-18 mm), has a gray head and thorax, and yellowish abdomen with a brown middorsal line. It ranges from New Brunswick south to Alabama, west to Colorado, north to Manitoba. The female California Range Crane Fly (T. simplex), 3/8-1/2″ (9-13 mm), is grayish-brown and wingless with short legs.

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