An Eco-sustainable World
InsectsSpecies Animal

Tipula oleracea

Tipula oleracea

The marsh crane fly (Tipula oleracea Linnaeus, 1758) is an insect belonging to the Tipulidae family.

Systematic –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota domain,
Kingdom Animalia,
Subkingdom Eumetazoa,
Bilateria branch,
Phylum Arthropoda,
Subphylum Tracheata,
Superclass Hexapoda,
Class Insecta,
Subclass Pterygota,
Endopterygota cohort,
Superorder Oligoneoptera,
Panorpoidea section,
Order Diptera,
Suborder Nematocera,
Infraorder Tipulomorpha,
Superfamily Tipuloidea,
Family Tipulidae,
Subfamily Tipulinae,
Genus Tipula,
Species T. oleracea.
The terms are synonymous:
– Tipula oleracea De Geer, 1776;
– Tipula pratensis De Geer, 1776;
– Tipula submendosa Tjeder, 1941.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Tipula oleracea is an insect found throughout the Palearctic and parts of the Nearctic, widespread especially in Europe. Its range extends from South to North Africa, but is limited to Algeria in the east. In Europe the south-eastern border is in Greece. It is found on some Greek islands such as Crete as a subspecies and is also on Malta. It is found in Northern Europe except Finland and Latvia. In North and South America it was probably introduced as an invasive species localized in the west of the North American continent from British Columbia to California, in the east between Michigan and New York. It has also been introduced in Ecuador in South America.
It is a polyphagous insect that infests both horticultural and ornamental crops, in greenhouses and in the open field, and large crops such as cereals.

Morphology –
The Tipula oleracea is an insect of generally greyish colour, with an occasionally ferruginous abdomen and often with a blackish longitudinal median and/or lateral stripe. It can also reach 23-25 mm in length; overall it has a hazel-grey livery, with evident rockers and very long and slender legs.
The length of the wing is 18–28 mm. The minimum space between the eyes below is at most less than the maximum width of the antenna! leak; the antennas are 13 segmented. The male tergite 9 has a short median projection (its width at the base exceeds its length), and roundly bifurcated at the apex, the bifurcations blackish; sternite 8 simple, 9 almost fused with tergite 9 (as in T. paludosa and T. czizeki). The wings of females are as long as the abdomen; sternal valves usually extending about two-thirds of the length of the cerci, cerci only slightly clubbed at the tips.
The larvae are about 30 mm long, light gray in color, with the abdominal end ending in a series of protuberances.
The eggs are oval and measure just under a millimeter. They have a dark color.

Aptitude and biological cycle –
The Tipula oleracea is a polyphagous insect that infests both horticultural and ornamental crops, in greenhouses and in the open field, as well as cereals. The damage occurs on the roots and on the epigeal organs closest to the ground (lower leaves and collar), caused by the larvae that live in humid soil, feeding on the organs described. Similar damage is also caused by Tipula paludosa Meig. which, among other things, causes problems on young seedlings in seedbeds or in pots, during the re-stakeout phase
This insect begins to fly in early summer, from April to June (peak May-June) and there is a second generation in late summer from August to October. Small swarms, which probably serve as mating formations, form in the evening hours when they fly low to the ground over meadows and fields.
Eggs are laid individually in loose, moist soil. Wet meadows offer this possibility, but gardens and cultural areas are also ideal for egg laying. Since in one square meter a female can lay up to 1200 eggs and often up to 400 larvae, mass attacks can damage crops. The larvae hatch after about 15 days and feed on decaying plant material, but also on delicate roots and can cause damage to crops, such as cabbage. At night they can attack the above-ground parts of plants and eat the leaves. Larval development lasts about four months and includes four molts. The larva pupates in the soil. The second generation spends the winter in the ground until late spring or early summer. Adult animals can only take in liquid foods such as nectar thanks to their soft mouthparts. The entire life cycle of T. oleracea lasts up to eight months and completes 2 generations per year.

Ecological Role –
Tipula oleracea is an insect that must be contained above all with agronomic practices while chemical practices must be gradually abandoned due to obvious repercussions on the entomofauna and on agricultural and natural ecosystems.
The agronomic struggle consists in creating conditions adverse to the life of the larvae, whose optimal environment is humid; therefore the agronomic practices are:
– Summer tillage of the soil, with the aim of destroying the larvae and pupae;
– Good hydraulic-agricultural arrangements that avoid water stagnation and excessive soil humidity;
– Processes that favor the evaporation of water.
The chemical control that has been practiced up to now is carried out when agronomic practices have failed to limit the presence of Tipula, this uses:
– Poisoned food baits (bran, commercial granules);
– Geodisinfestations of substrates without cultivation in progress, with insecticides permitted for cultivation.
In recent times, excellent results have also been obtained with biological control, using entomopathogenic nematodes, in particular Steinernema carpocapsae, on the ground when larvae are present; furthermore, intercropping and good rotations significantly limit the infestations of this insect.

Guido Bissanti

– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Russo G., 1976. Agricultural Entomology. Special Part. Liguori Editore, Naples.
– Pollini A., 2002. Manual of applied entomology. Edagricole, Bologna.
– Tremblay E., 1997. Applied entomology. Liguori Editore, Naples.

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