Crane Fly – Tipula dorsimacula

Crane Fly – Tipula dorsimacula
Family Tipulidae – crane flies, tipules

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Tipulidae is the largest family of Diptera with about 1,500 species in North America

Live adult female fly photographed at Winfield IL USA April 23, 2004. Size: 25mm not including legs. I believe this giant crane fly had recently been laying eggs when I stumbled upon it – the tip of the abdomen is wet as if it had been in the water or mud.

Thanks to Dr. Chen Young of Carnegie Museum of Natural History for identification of this specimen.

Crane Fly - Tipula dorsimacula

The small, bulbous structures are called halteres. They are used for balance and vibration damping during flight.
All true flies have these organs; they evolved from the (absent in flies) second set of wings present in most other insects.


  1. Chen Young, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, "Crane Flies of Pennsylvania"
Flies of North America – Order Diptera. Flies are prevalent in virtually all habitats, with over 16,000 species in North America. Flies can be distinguished from all other insects in that they only have one pair of normal wings. Most flies have compound eyes and mouthparts adapted for piercing, lapping or sucking fluids.
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