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Crane Fly Identification 

As mentioned on the previous page, Tipula paludosa and T. oleracea are extremely similar species, but they may be separated by the characters presented below. In general appearance, they are large craneflies with grayish-brown bodies. Male craneflies may have a wingspan from 1¼ to 1½ inches. Females are larger, with a wingspan of 1½ to 2 inches.

Click any image to enlarge.

male T. paludosa female T. oleracea

Wing Coloration Characteristics

The wings are slightly cloudy, with a darker area and a white stripe along the leading edge - visible in the following pictures against dark and light backgrounds.

T. oleracea wing on white backgroundT. oleracea wing on black background

Other than the leading edge stripes, there are no pigmented areas on the veins or cross-veins and no other spots or "pictures" in the wings.

Eye Separation Characteristics

A very clear character for distinguishing the two species apart is the separation of the compound eyes on the ventral surface (underside) of the head, as shown in the following figures. This character can be used to distinguish both males and females of the two species.
(Character from Brodo, 1994)

T. oleracea ventral eye space

The space between the eyes of T. oleracea is narrow, only as wide as the width of the base segments of the antenna.

T. paludosa ventral eye space

The eye separation on T. paludosa is much wider, usually several times the width of the antenna.

Wing Length Characteristics

A different character to separate the species, which only applies to females, is the length of the wings. Female T. oleracea wings are clearly longer than the abdomen, as seen to the right. The wings of female T. paludosa are shorter than the abdomen.

Additional pictures of similar (native) crane fly species for comparison to T. paludosa and T. oleracea, and a list of pertinent literature and other resources can be found on the Native Crane Flies page.

In this article...


Physical Characteristics

See Also:

Pacific NW Native
Crane Flies

Crane Fly Calendar

Crane Fly Sampling

Crane Fly Articles

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