large crane fly

(Tipula borealis)

Conservation Status
large crane fly (Tipula borealis)
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Tipula borealis is a medium-sized “large” crane fly. It occurs in the eastern North America from Quebec to Ontario south to South Carolina and Kansas. It is uncommon in Minnesota. Based on the number of reported sightings, it is either rare or more likely underreported. Adults are found in the summer in wet woodlands. Larvae are found in saturated forests in the very outer layers of fallen, well-rotted tree trunks, and often under moss.

Adults are slender, soft-bodied, yellowish- or grayish-brown, ½ to (13 to 17 mm) in length, and have a 916 to (14 to 15 mm) long wing length.

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 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 13 segments. The segments are simple, not branched. Each segment has an enlarged base and a whorl of medium-length 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. 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 with a few brown spots and areas of brown clouding. There is a narrow brown stripe on the leading edge (costal margin), with a clear patch just beyond the midpoint followed by a darker, brownish-gray patch. The radius (R) vein has three branches. The radial sector (Rs) vein is long. The media vein (M) is dark, bold, and forked near the margin. The basal section of the first branch of the cubitus vein (Cu1a) is long and joins with the third media vein (M3), which makes the discal cell appear to have five sides. 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 outer cells may have very short hairs (microtrichia), seen only with magnification, but have no long hairs (macrotrichia). The cell at the end of the first branch of Cu1a, which is also designated as Cu1a, is only slightly wider at the base than at the margin.

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

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ½ to (13 to 17 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Wet woodlands

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Summer

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

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

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

 

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Adults do not feed

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30, 82.

 
  3/3/2021      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon 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

Beringotipula  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Tipula hebes

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

This species has no common name. The common name of the family Tipulidae is large crane flies, and is applied here for convenience.

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

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
       
  large crane fly (Tipula borealis)    
       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

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  Family: Tipulidae
Bill Keim
 
  Family: Tipulidae  
 
About

Order: Diptera
Suborder: Nematocera
Infraorder: Tipulomorpha
Superfamily: Tipuloidea

- Brachypremna dispellens (large crane fly)
- Ctenophora nubecula (large crane fly)
- Nephrotoma alterna (tiger crane fly)
- Nephrotoma eucera (tiger crane fly)
- Nephrotoma ferruginea (Ferruginous Tiger Crane Fly)
- Nephrotoma virescens (tiger crane fly)
- Tipula (large crane fly)
- Tipula [Subgenus: Platytipula] (large crane fly)
- Tipula [Subgenus: Pterelachisus] (large crane fly)
- Tipula abdominalis (Giant Crane Fly)
- Tipula borealis (large crane fly)
- Tipula furca (large crane fly)

 
     

 

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large crane fly (Tipula borealis)


     
     
 
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Created: 3/3/2021

Last Updated:

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