The Crane fly are mostly found in damp situations where there is abundant vegetation, although some are found in dry grassland habitats and even deserts, there are many crane flies in the Pacific Northwest, sometimes, in the fall, we could have up to 50 at one time in our house. The more common ones on the coast are the European, Picia Contans and the Marsh Crane flies.
The larvae are called leatherjackets due to their tough skin. Some larvae are aquatic or live in wet conditions. The larvae of other species live in the soil or in fungi, mosses, and decaying wood. The larvae feed mostly on the decomposing organic matter with a few of the aquatic species being predaceous. The adults live only a few days and most of them do not feed.
Species of the genus Chionea are small and wingless and are found on snow in winter.
Crane flies are medium to very large sized flies. They are usually gray or brown but can be many colors like bright copper, the body is elongated and slender, and they have long narrow wings and long and slender legs. They could be confused with large mosquitoes but crane flies do not have a long proboscis and do not bite. The wings are often clouded or patterned and they have a ‘V’ shaped groove on the top of the thorax.