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Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro Halifax (SWCSMH)
Updated: October 09, 2013
- Superphylum Arthropoda
- (jointed-legged metazoan animals [Gr, arthron = joint; pous = foot])
- Phylum Entoma
- Subphylum Uniramia
- (L, unus = one; ramus = branch, referring to the unbranched nature of the appendages)
- Superclass Hexapoda
- (Gr, hex = six, pous = foot)
- Class Insecta
- (L, insectum meaning cut into sections)
- Subclass Ptilota
- Infraclass Neopterygota
- Order Diptera
This is the largest of the dipteran
families, with approximately 14, 000 species described to date.
commonly known as crane flies or daddy-long-legs, tipulids are
world-wide in distribution, although their greatest diversity is in the
Life History, Habitat and Feeding
Adults tend to be short-lived and are
typically found in shaded, humid areas of woodland where they feed on
honeydew and nectar. The larvae are much longer-lived, up to a year or
more, and are primarily aquatic or semi-aquatic, although some species
live in decaying wood, soil and fungi.
The larvae of some soil-dwelling species of Tipula, known as "leather jackets", may cause severe damage to moist pastureland by eating the roots of grass.
Tipulids are important, both as larvae
and adults, in providing food for other species as, besides being eaten
by other invertebrates, fishes and amphibians, at least 91 species of
bird are known to eat them in New York State, alone.
In many freshwater habitats, especially
ponds, streams and floodplains, tipulid larvae play an important role
in "shredding" riparian leaf litter, thus making it available to other
species that can feed only by "gathering" smaller organic particles.
Larvae of the Limoniinae and Tipulinae
pass through 4 instars before pupating, whereas those of the
Cylindrotominae reportedly have more. Tipulids have pharate pupae
(i.e., a "prepupal" stage formed upon cessation of feeding by the last
larval instar). A pharate adult phase also occurs. This stage is
frequently quite active, particularly just prior to the final moult to
the adult proper (sometimes referred to as the non-pharate adult). The
non-pharate adult is a wholly terrestrial animal.
Temperate tipulid species are typically
univoltine, although many are bivoltine. At higher latitudes, the life
cycle is often spread over two years (semivoltine), and near the
northern-most limit of crane fly distribution, in Alaska, species like T. carinifrons may take as long as five years (merovoltine).
References and web URLs:
- Narf, R. 1997. Midges, bugs, whirligigs
and others: The distribution of insects in Lake "U-Name-It". Lakeline.
N. Am. Lake Manage. Soc. 16-17, 57-62.
- Peckarsky, B.L., P.R. Fraissinet, M.A. Penton, and D.J. Conklin,
Jr. 1990. Freshwater Macroinvertebrates of Northeastern North America.
Cornell Univ. Press. xii, 442pp.
- Williams, D.D., and Feltmate, B.W. 1992. Aquatic Insects. CAB International. ISBN: 0-85198-782-6. xiii, 358p.
- Mandaville, S.M. 1999.
Bioassessment of Freshwaters Using Benthic Macroinvertebrates-A Primer.
First Ed. Project E-1, Soil & Water Conservation Society of Metro
Halifax. viii, Chapters I-XXVII, Appendices A-D. 244p.
- For the entire Report, download all the files in the subdirectory, Primer1
- Chapter XV: Family Tipulidae (crane flies)
- Tree of Life-Tipulidae
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