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Cranefly (Aphrophila)

Taxonomic group

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

  • Hard bottom: 5
  • Soft bottom: 5.6

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

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).