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Cranefly (Zelandotipula)

Taxonomic group

Tipulidae: Zelandotipula

Diagnostic features

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.

Typical habitats

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.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 6
  • Soft bottom: 3.6

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

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].