Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Cranefly ( Tipulidae : Aphrophila )

Diagnostic features

Aphrophila is one of our most common tipulid craneflies with freshwater larvae. Like other tipulids the general body form is worm-like, with the head usually retracted into the body. The breathing apparatus is at the end of the abdomen (the “spiracular disc” which is an arrangement of breathing spiracles surrounded by lobes) is inconspicuous in Aphrophila. Aphrophila has prominent creeping welts along the underside of the abdomen, and scar-like marks along the upper side of the abdomen.

Typical habitats

Aphrophila are common in many stony and gravelly, bush covered and farmland streams.


They are known to feed on filamentous algae, diatoms and plant detritus.

Indicator value

Aphrophila can be abundant in gravelly streams with moderate to good water quality. They have tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 5.6 (soft bottom sites).