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Primitive cranefly (Mischoderus)

Taxonomic group

Tanyderidae: Mischoderus

Diagnostic features

Mischoderus is a primitive cranefly in the family Tanyderidae. The larva differs from tipulid cranefly larvae in that the head is not retracted into the body, and instead of a spiracular disc there is a cluster of tentacle-like tail filaments (or only 2 slender filaments in early instars). There are no thoracic prolegs, but there are prolegs at the end of the abdomen.

Typical habitats

Mischoderus larvae are found in many farmland and bush covered, hard bottom and soft bottom streams, though usually in low abundances.


They are known to have ingested a range of streambed foods including plant detritus, algae and midge larvae.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 4
  • Soft bottom: 5.9

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

Mischoderus larvae are found in streams with moderate to good water quality. They have mid range tolerance values of 4 (hard bottom sites) and 5.9 (soft bottom sites).