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Body length varies from three to seven millimeters.
Adults are very slender, long-legged flies that may vary in length from 2–60 mm (0.079–2.4 in) though tropical species may exceed to 100 mm (3.9 in).
Crane flies vary in size, with temperate species ranging from 2 to 60 mm (0.079 to 2.4 in), while tropical species have been recorded at over 100 mm (3.9 in). The giant crane fly (Holorusia rubiginosa) of the western United States can reach 38 mm (1.5 in). Some Tipula species are 64 mm (2.5 in). Many smaller species are mosquito-sized, but they can be distinguished from mosquitoes by the V-shaped suture on the thorax, nonpiercing mouthparts, and a lack of scales on the wing veins.
Crane flies do not possess venom at all. Most of them in the adult stage do not even have mouth parts--all energy acquisition (eating) is done in the larval stage; the adults are meant for quick reproduction and nothing more.