British Insects: the Families of Diptera


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Daddy-long-legs, Crane-flies.

Adult insects. Slender-bodied; stilt-legged. The legs readily shed (?). Antennae 8–16 segmented; ‘simple’. Ocelli absent. The maxillary palps 3–5 segmented; drooping (short, with the terminal segment not noticeably longer than the preceding one). Thorax with the dorsal suture continuous across the middle. The dorsal suture deeply V-shaped. Wings with a discal cell; without a sub-apical cell; without a closed anal cell. The costa not extending around the entire wing. Sub-costa apparent; reaching the costa independently of vein 1, or distally forked, to join both the costa and vein 1. The leading edge veins not noticeably stronger than the rest. Wing vein 6 present; reaching the wing margin. Wing vein 7 present; reaching the wing margin. Wings with the lower calypter much reduced or absent; patterned, or unpatterned.

Larvae and pupae. The larvae aquatic, or terrestrial; phytophagous, or saprophagous, or mycophagous, or predatory; eucephalic. The pupae without a puparium.

Comments. Gnat-like insects, which dance in swarms in damp situations around sunset and sunrise. Most rest with the wings folded one over the other along the body, by contrast with most tipulines.

Classification. Suborder Nematocera; Division Tipulomorpha; Superfamily Tipuloidea.

British representation. 212 species in Britain. Genera about 49; Achyrolimonia, Antocha, Arctoconopa, Atypophthalmus, Austrolimnophila, Cheilotrichia, Crypteria, Dactylolabis, Dicranomyia, Dicranopytcha, Discobola, Ellipteroides, Eloeophila, Epiphragma, Erioconopa, Erioptera, Euphilidorea, Geranomyia, Gnophomyia, Gonempeda, Gonomyia, Helius, Hexatoma, Hoplolabis, Idiocera, Idioptera, Ilisia, Limnophila, Limonia, Lipsothrix, Metalimnobia, Molophilus, Neilimnomyia, Neolimnophila, Neolimonia, Orimarga, Ormosia, Paradelphomyia, Phylidorea, Pilaria, Pseudolimnophila, Rhabdomastix, Rhipidia, Rhypholophus, Scleroprocta, Symplecta, Tasiocera, Thaumastoptera, Trimicra.

Illustrations. • Erioptera, Hexatoma, Ormosia (From Walker). • Dicranomyia, Euphylidorea, Geranomyia, Helius, Neolimnomyia, Paradelphomyia, Philidorea, Rhipidia, Simplecta (from Walker). • Epiphragma ocellare (Ocellated Gnat: B. Ent. 050). • Epiphragma ocellare (detail: B. Ent. 050). • Epiphragma ocellare (dissections: B. Ent. 050). • Epiphragma ocellare (B. Ent. 050, legend+text. • Epiphragma ocellare (B. Ent. 050, text cont.. • Geranomyia unicolor (Long-lipped Crane-fly: B. Ent. 573). • Geranomyia unicolor: B. Ent. 573, legend+text. • Geranomyia unicolor: B. Ent. 573, text cont.. • Molophilus ater (Original generic description. Short-winged Mountain Gnat: B. Ent. 444). • Molophilus ater (B. Ent. 444, legend+text). • Molophilus ater (B. Ent. 444, text cont.). • Molophilus obscurus (Short-legged Crane-fly: B. Ent.557). • Molophilus obscurus: B. Ent. 557, legend+text. • Molophilus obscurus: B. Ent. 557, text cont.. • Hexatoma fuscipennis Curtis: B. Ent. 589. • Hexatoma fuscipennis Curtis: B. Ent. 589, legend+text. • Hexatoma fuscipennis Curtis: B. Ent. 589, text cont.. • Metalimnobia bifasciata, male and female: as Limnobia xanthoptera, Stephens 1846. • Trimicra pilipes: as Symplectra marginata, Stephens 1846.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. British insects: the families of Diptera. Version: 1st January 2012.’.