European crane fly

(Tipula paludosa)

Conservation Status
European crane fly
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

European crane fly is a large, exotic, invasive, crane fly. It is native to northwestern Europe. It was first reported in North America in 1955 in Nova Scotia. Separate populations were found in British Columbia in 1965 and in Ontario in 1996. It has since spread rapidly and now occurs throughout the United States. It is still uncommon in the upper Midwest, including in Minnesota. Adults are found from late July to September in nurseries, sod farms, golf courses, agricultural crops, hay fields, lawns, and gardens. They do not feed. Larvae, called leatherjackets, are found in the top three inches of soil. They feed on the roots of grasses and a variety other plants.

Adults are slender, soft-bodied, yellowish-brown, and 1 to 1316 (2.5 to 3.0 cm) in length. They look like oversize mosquitoes.

There are two large compound eyes on the sides of the head and no simple eyes (ocelli). The compound eyes are bare, not covered with hairs. The gap between the compound eyes on the underside of the head is wide. The mouth parts are at the end of a short but conspicuous, snout-like projection (rostrum) on the front of the head. At the tip of the rostrum, on the upper side, there is a short pointed extension (nasus). The lower jaws (maxillae) have long sensory structures (palps) attached. Each palp has four segments. The fourth segment is antennae-like and very long, longer than first three segments combined. The antennae are short and have 14 segments. The segments are simple, not branched. Each segment has a whorl of long hairs at the base.

The upper thoracic plate (mesonotum) is brownish-gray with dull, darker gray, longitudinal stripes. It has a distinct, V-shaped groove (suture) on top near the wing bases.

The abdomen is long and slender, and has nine evident segments. Each segment is yellowish-brown with a dark, upper (middorsal), longitudinal stripe, and a small dash-like spot on each side of the stripe. The last abdominal segment on the female has a long, acutely pointed, egg-laying apparatus (ovipositor). On the male, the last segment is enlarged into a club-shaped structure (hypopygium) that supports the copulatory apparatus

The wings are tinted grayish-brown. There is a narrow dark stripe on the leading edge (costal margin), and a narrow pale stripe just inside the dark stripe. The radius vein (R) has three branches. There are two anal veins, both of them long and reaching the wing margin. On the female, the wings do not reach the tip of the abdomen.

The legs are long and slender. The fourth leg segment (tibia) of each leg has two spurs at the tip.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Nurseries, sod farms, golf courses, agricultural crops, hay fields, lawns, and gardens

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Late July to September

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

The wings are held spread at almost right angles when at rest.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larval Food

 
 

Roots of a variety of grasses and other plants

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Adults do not feed

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30.

 
  2/3/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon but spreading in Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

Nematocera (long-horned flies)  
 

Infraorder

Tipulomorpha (crane flies)  
 

Superfamily

Tipuloidea  
 

Family

Tipulidae (large crane flies)  
 

Subfamily

Tipulinae  
 

Genus

Tipula  
 

Subgenus

Tipula (European crane flies)  
       
 

 

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

common European crane fly

European crane fly

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Costal margin

The leading edge of the forewing of insects.

 

Mesonotum

The principal exoskeletal plate on the upper (dorsal) part of the middle segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Ovipositor

A long needle-like tube on the abdomens of some female insects, used to inject eggs into soil or plant stems.

 

Palp

Short for pedipalp. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and insects, and as weapons in scorpions. Plural: palpi or palps.

 

Rostrum

The stiff, beak-like projection of the carapace or prolongation of the head of an insect, crustacean, or cetacean.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  European crane fly   European crane fly
       
  European crane fly   European crane fly
       
  European crane fly   European crane fly
       
  European crane fly   European crane fly
       
  European crane fly   European crane fly
       
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Other Videos
 
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MrElephant47
 
   
 
About

Sep 23, 2011

DADDY-LONG-LEGS

   
       
  Tipula paludosa
A beautiful day
 
   
 
About

Nov 2, 2017

   
       

 

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Alfredo Colon
September 2019

Location: Woodbury, MN

European crane fly


Alfredo Colon
Summer 2018

Location: Woodbury, MN

European crane fly


     
     
 
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Created: 2/4/2021

Last Updated:

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