Osten Sacken, C.R. 1860a. New genera and species of North American Tipulidae with short palpi, with an attempt at a new classification of the tribe. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 1859: 220.


The genus Elephantomyia is agroup of 132 species divided into 4 subgenera (E. (Elephantomyia), E. (Elephantomyina), E. (Elephantomyodes), E. (Xenoelephantomyia)) that are distinguised from other genera by their greatly elongate rostrum that is commonly up to 10 times the length of the head. Elephantomyia (Elephantomyiana) and E. (Xenoelephantomyia) are both known from single specimens and show divergence from the typical generic characteristics in possessing a supernumerary crossvein in cell r3 (E. (Elephantomyina)) and possession of only a single anal vein (E. (Xenoelephantomyia)). The majority of species are divided between E. (Elephantomyia) and E. (Elephantomyodes).

Elephantomyia has been typically placed outside of the Limoniidae based on its possession of tibial spurs, a trait that is lacking in all other Limoniinae genera included in this key. The genus is included in Limoniinae here based on the classification of Oosterbroek (2005).

The genus Elephantomyia is quite similar to two other genera, Helius and Toxorhina, based on the elongate rostrum. Elephantomyia is separated from both based on the presence of tibial spurs which are lacking in both Helius and Toxorhina.


Elephantomyia sp. wing
Figure 1. Elephantomyia westwoodi Osten Sacken (scale bar = 1mm).

Elephantomyia westwoodi hypopygium
Figure 2. Male hypopygium of Elephantomyia westwoodi Osten Sacken (scale bar = 0.5 mm).


Elephantomyia is a widespread genus that is represented in all biogeographic regions and shows a strong equatorial distribution. The Oriental Region currently contains 23 known species that are widely distributed across the region. Elephantomyia finds its greatest species richness in the Neotropical (40 species) and Afrotropical (37 species) Regions and is less represented in the Australian/Oceanic (16 species), Eastern Palearctic (12 species), Western Palearctic (2 species), and Nearctic (3 species) Regions.

Larval Habitat: 

The little that is known about the larval habitats of this genus shows that there exists great latitude in habitat preference. A summary of habitats (Alexander 1964) indicate a range from decaying wood of prostrate hardwood trees (E. westwoodi and others) to wet moss cushions found near stream margins and wet sandy soil.