Limoniid Crane Flies
Family Limoniidae, page 1
Two key characters of family Limoniidae are:
- antennae of (usually) 14 or 16 segments
- fourth (terminal) segment of the maxillary palpus shorter than, or about equal to, the third segment.
Limoniidae was formerly a subfamily of Tipulidae, and some experts still treat it as such.
As separate families, Limoniidae is king, with 885 Nearctic species, compared with "only" 573 species in Tipulidae. Worldwide, Limoniids can boast 10,430 species, while Tipulids number 4,188 described species.
It is hard to mention species numbers without mentioning the redoubtable Crane Fly expert C. P. Alexander, who described 11,000 of the currently recognized 15,200 species of Tipulidae, Limoniidae, and a few small related families. Alexander wrote his first description in 1910 and his last in 1981 (de Jong et al., 2007).
Many Limoniid Crane Flies are aquatic during the larval period, then move to stream or pond margins or to drier areas for pupation. These Limoniids include some in the genera Limonia, Erioptera, and Pedicia. In genus Gnophomyia the immatures develop in decaying wood, while in Gonomyia immatures develop in soil.
For a look at differences between Tipulid and Limoniid Crane flies, see our How to Tell Tipulidae from Limoniidae page.
Click on the thumbnail to see a larger image with information about the species.
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