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