EIGURE 8.7 Tipulidae (Típula). (A) Adult; (B) larva. (From McCafferty, 1981.)

into the anterior thoracic segments (Fig. 8.7B). They are found in a wide range of aquatic and semiaquatic habitats and are commonly collected at the margins of streams and ponds and in moist leaf litter, A few species occur in dry soil, where the larvae may be pests of grain and turf crops by feeding on the roots. Most species in temperate areas have one or two generations a year, with four larval instars and a brief pupal stage. The length of the life cycle varies from 6 weeks to 4 years, the latter being typical of some Arctic species.

The Tipulidae is a very large, cosmopolitan family of Diptera with over 60 genera and 1500 specks described in North America. Keys to both the adults and larvae of the Nearctic genera are provided by Alexander and Byers (1981) and Byers (1984). Adult and larval ecology are presented in Knizesk and Sullivan (1984) and Freeman (1967), respectively.

March flies are dark-colored flies varying in size from small to moderately large (4-10 mm). The adults (Fig. 8.8) generally can be distinguished from other Nemato-cera by the lack of a V-shaped suture on the mesono-tum, the presence of ocelli, antennae inserted below the eyes, and the presence of tibial spurs and pulvilli. Adults usually emerge in the spring and feed on flower nectar and pollen. The larvae are scavengers and are found mostly in decaying organic materials such as forest litter, manure, and soils rich in humus. Some species cause damage to the roots of cultivated plants, especially cereal and grass crops.

Adults of the love-bug (Plecia neurotica) often emerge in large swarms along the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts

FIGURE 8.8 Bibionidae, love bug (Plecia nearctica)-, pair of adults in cúpula, female at left. (From Leppla et al., 1975.)
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