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Cranefly (Eriopterini)

Taxonomic group

Tipulidae: Eriopterini

Diagnostic features

The Eriopterini is a tribe within the tipulid craneflies. Like other tipulids the general body form is worm-like, with the head retracted into the body. The breathing apparatus at the tail end may be a wedge-shaped structure or a star-like arrangement of 5 short lobes. The tail segments are often swollen and wider than the rest of the body.

Typical habitats

Eriopterini larvae can be common in stony or gravelly, bush covered or farmland streams.


New Zealand studies have shown they feed on plant detritus and a range of streambed algae.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 9
  • Soft bottom: 7.5

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

An abundance of Eriopterini larvae is an indication of good water quality, particularly if mayflies and stoneflies are also abundant. They have high tolerance values of 9 (hard bottom sites) and 7.5 (soft bottom sites).