Guide to Crane Fly Pests of Turfgrass in the Eastern U.S.

An Online Interactive Identification Guide

Abstract for project

What is a crane fly?

 How to use the ID Nature Guide

Discover Life has produced many guides, which are based on the same web platform. To use this guide, compare the characteristics of a crane fly specimen you have collected to the characteristics listed in the guide. 

A.     Underneath each character question there are different character states to select. Select a question you are confident in answering and check the box for the state that matches the crane fly specimen you are identifying. 

B.     Click the search button. The species that share this characteristic will be listed in the sidebar. 

C.     Repeat this process with the list of questions by selecting the characteristics that match your specimen and clicking the search button afterward. 

D.     When only one or a few crane flies remain in the sidebar, click on their name to be taken to a species page for them. You can then see full body pictures of the crane fly or specific identifying body parts. Does your crane fly match the ones in the pictures? More information may be found on these species pages.

When you have answered a few questions and reduced the amount of species in the sidebar, click on the simplify button at the top of the sidebar. Then only the character states that still matter in the questions remain. This feature works best if you are sure that the crane fly you are examining comes from a turfgrass environment and is likely to be found in the guide.

At any time the restart button at the top of the page can be clicked to begin the search again on the main page.

If you have chosen the characteristics that best match your specimen but there are no results remaining in the sidebar, you may have a species that is not included in the guide. This guide concentrates on crane flies that are associated with turfgrass habitats such as lawns and pasture, or appear similar to Tipula paludosa and Tipula oleracea, important pest species.

Here is the link to the Adult Crane Fly guide.

Here is a link to the Larval Crane Fly guide.


Click on the [Explain] link after the question for a better idea of what it is asking.

It is best  to only answer the questions you are confident about. Feel free to skip around to different questions that may be easier to answer.

For some questions you may need a microscope or prepared slides of the body parts. Others are easier to answer with the unaided eye or a ruler and magnfying lens.

Click on the photos beneath the character states for a bigger view in the sidebar.

The character links at the top of the page can take you directly to the question about that characteristic.

Some questions apply only to male crane flies or female crane flies due to the sex specific anatomy. Here is the link to some information for determining the sex. 

The green numbers next to the character states indicate how many species in the guide have this characteristic. 

Crane flies that have been preserved in alcohol may have different coloration on the thoracic notum or thoracic pleura than specimens that have been preserved dry. 

More helpful links to crane fly information

 Click on this picture to see an enlarged view of the ID Nature guide layout.


Some example questions. 


Species that match the selected characteristics, and a list of selected and remaining questions