Cranefly ID

I am completely new to looking at Diptera. I'm new to the forum and this is my first post. I am making a start by trying to identify the larger things that visit my garden. This is the third species of Cranefly so far this spring, but by picture matching I can't put a name to this one. I guess the size (15mm from head to wingtip), apparent lack of wing marks, and the generally brown appearance (including a yellowy-brown tint to the wings) must surely narrow down the possibilities considerably. The keys look rather daunting for a complete novice, so can anybody point me in the right direction for this one, so I can start learning to look at the relevant microscopic features (or at least which photos views are essential). Thank you!


The short palps suggest that this is one of the Limoniidae, rather than Tipulidae. It's a very large family with over 200 species, so narrowing down the possibilities for a rather undistinguished species is not that straightforward. One thing that would help is if you could post a photo of a single wing (remove one if you have to) - this makes it very much easier to see the wing venation which is often the best route towards an answer.

Thanks, Andrew - that certainly helps. I'd say this was in the Limnophilinae, somewhere near Euphylidorea. (but I have been known to be completely wrong at times!)

Browsing this further, to my completely untrained eye the wing looks like that of Euphylidorea meigenii :

which from iRecord seems to be the only Euphylidorea recorded in my county (Cheshire) at this time of year.

I don't know how different the wings are between closely related species. Are these things usually needing dissecting to get to species?



I think this is a female Euphylidorea dispar, but it does seem rather dark.  This could be the lighting.  There are 2 species which are very dark; E. meigenii and E. phaeostigma, and both of these are moorland species.  John K  

Thank you both so much for your help.

In view of your comments about the lighting for the photos I took pictures in real rather than artificial daylight. I think these show legs, wings and body coloration more clearly. Does that change your view?

I went back to look at a specimen I caught in my garden on 24/4/21 expecting it to be of the same species as it also had brown-tinted wings. I found it has a body length (10mm) about 2mm shorter than the one I posted above. I've yet to start learning about wing venation but these two appear to me to have different wings. Are they different species?

(I can't see how to post two images in a reply so this one will come in a separate reply.)

Mon, 10/05/2021 - 11:36

I asked Alan Stubbs for his opinion and am posting his reply as he is having problems in logging on.-


"My conclusion is Euphylidorea lineola.  The stigma is brownish, overall a strong match with Chris’s * photo: confirming the value of the wing plates to help the novice.  The thorax is darker than usual, as can happen with various species early in the season (and it has been exceptionally cold this spring).

This is widespread but in low numbers,  by ponds, ditches and marshy ground.  Not the most common species for a beginner to find but it depends on chancing on the right habitat, and at yet species diversity seems unusually low so there is not an abundance of common species masking the presence of species such as this.

I am still having problems accessing the website so please relay my det. to Andrew"

* The forthcoming British Craneflies book will have wing photographs taken by Chris Spilling, anyone who has seen his photographs on the DF display boards will be familiar with the excellent quality of his photography


Thank you all for your help with this. I look forward to the appearance of the book.

I hope you will pardon me posting the third similar-looking cranefly for confirmation that this is not another species.

I can't see how to put multiple images in a reply, so I'll post this separately as a new post.