Zelandotipula is one of our largest tipulid craneflies with freshwater larvae. Like other tipulids the general body form is worm-like, with the head usually retracted into the body. The spiracular disc (breathing apparatus at the tip of the tail) is surrounded by a star-like arrangement of 6 hair-fringed lobes. The “skin” of Zelandotipula often has a thick, velvety appearance.
Zelandotipula larvae tend to be found in muddy habitats including shallow soft-bottom streams and seepages.
New Zealand studies have shown they feed on plant detritus, streambed algae and other invertebrates.
Zelandotipula can be found in slow flowing muddy habitats. These conditions do not necessarily reflect water quality. They have tolerance values of 6 (hard bottom sites) and 3.6 (soft bottom sites).