Crane Fly, common name for large, slender-legged, mosquitolike flies, including the crane flies, winter crane flies, primitive crane flies, and phantom crane flies. In the larger species, the body is about 25 mm (about 1 in) long and the legs about 38 mm (about 1.5 in) long. These flies appear, often in swarms, in late summer. The family of crane flies, with nearly 15,000 species, is by far the largest family. The larvae of most species live in the earth, but some live in water, in decomposed wood, or upon leaves of plants. The wings of the crane flies are generally clear, but are sometimes beautifully marked.
Scientific classification: Crane flies constitute the family Tipulidae. Winter crane flies constitute the family Trichoceridae. Primitive crane flies constitute the family Tanyderidae. Phantom crane flies constitute the family Ptychopteridae. All crane fly families belong to the order Diptera.