|ca. 150 genera|
The Limoniidae are a family of flies closely related to the crane flies, Tipulidae, although they can usually be distinguished by the way the wings are held at rest. Limoniids usually hold/fold the wings along the back of the body, whereas tipulids usually hold them out at right angles. Members of the genus Chionea (snow flies) have no wings at all. Limoniids are also usually smaller than tipulids, with some exceptions. Limoniidae are a very large family with nearly 10500 described species in 133 genera. These flies are found in damp places throughout the world, and many species form dense swarms in suitable habitats.
For terms see Morphology of Diptera
Limoniidae are similar to Tipulidae but they are medium or small-sized, rarely large. The proboscis or rostrum lacks a beak. The apical segment of the maxillary palpi is short and never longer than subapical one. The antennae are, in most species, 14- or 16-segmente (rarely 6-, 10-, or 17-segmented), usually verticillate (whorls of trichia) and only exceptionally ctenidial or serrate (Rhipidia). There is a distinct V-shaped suture between the between the mesonotal prescutum and scutum (near the level of the wing bases).This suture is also seen in Tipulidae. The wings are monochromatic or punctate and (in females more often than in males). sometimes shortened or reduced. The subcosta always fuses with the costa through Sc1. Radial vein R2 does not fuse with the costa, as in most Tipulidae, but with radial vein R3. The radial sector Rs has one or two forks.Additional crossveins are sometimes present in cells r3 an1 and m. Cells m1 and d often not present. The genitalia of males have large separated gonocoxis and one or two pairs of appendages which are sometimes greatly folded (Dicranomyia, etc.).The ovipostor of the female has sclerotized cerci.
Mostly, larvae are aquatic or semi-aquatic. The majority of Tipulidae larvae in comparison, are terrestrial though some are aquatic and found in huge numbers in lotic habitats like the limoniid larvae. Various species have evolved to feed on different food sources, so phytophagous, saprophagous, mycetophagous and predatory species occur.
Limoniidae occupy a wide range of habitats and micro habitats: in earth rich in humus, in swamps and marshes, in leaf litter and in wet spots in woods (numerous genera and species; in soils with only moderate humus content along stream borders (Gonomyia Meigen, Rhabdomastix Skuse, Arctoconopa Alexander, Hesperoconopa Alexander); in dry to saturated decaying wood in streams, where the larvae feed on fungal mycelia (Gnophomyia Osten Sacken, Teucholabis Osten Sacken, Lipsothrix Loew); in decaying plant materials (various subgenera and species of Limonia),in woody and fleshy fungi (Limonia (Metalimnobia Matsumura); in fresh water, especially rapidly flowing streams (Antocha Osten Sacken, Hesperoconopa Alexander, Cryptolabis Osten Sacken); intertidal zones and brackish water (Limonia(Idioglochina Alexander, Limonia (Diuanomyia) Stephens) ; freshwater aquatic environment during the larval stage and nearby margin areas for pupation (Limonia Meigen, Thaumastoptera Mik, many Pediciini, Hexatomini, and Eriopterini); steep cliff faces supporting a constantly wet film of algae (some species of Limonia Meigen, Orimarga Osten Sacken Elliptera Schiner); in moist to wet cushions of mosses or liverworts growing on rocks or earth (various species).
Limoniids are not particularly common in amber deposits, but a few finds (e.g. Tipunia intermedia Krzeminski & Ansorge, 1995 from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen limestones) suggest the family has been extant since the Jurassic period.
- Alexander C.P., Byers G.W. (1981) Tipulidae. in: McAlpine J.F. et al. (Ed.), Manual of Nearctic Diptera. Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, pp. 153–1902 ISBN 0660107317 pdf download manual
- Ujvarosi, L., Poti T., 2006: Studies on the community structure of the Tipuloidea (Insecta, Diptera) assamblages of the După Luncă Marsh, Eastern Carpathians. Acta Biol. Debr. Oecol. Hung. 14: 253-262 pdf
- Family description
- Catalogue of the crane flies of the world
- Fossil Diptera catalog
- Diptera.info Images
- Family Limoniidae at EOL images
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