long-tailed dance fly

(Rhamphomyia longicauda)

Conservation Status
long-tailed dance fly
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Long-tailed dance fly is a small, 5 16 to long, black, long-legged fly.

The thorax is large and bulbous, making the insect appear hump-backed.

The abdomen is long and tapered. On the male, there is a conspicuous genital capsule under the abdomen. It is not folded forward. The female’s abdomen is longer than the male’s, the attribute that gives the species its common “long-tailed”.

The wings are black and long, longer than and completely covering the abdomen.

The head is rounded. The neck is long and distinct. The compound eyes are large and bright orange or red. The proboscis is long. The antennae have three segments. The terminal segment has a long, slender style at the tip.

The legs are long, slender, and pale. On the female, the middle and hind legs have a fringe of long, black, bristly hairs.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 5 16 to

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous woods near water

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

May to July

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Every evening around sunset, males and females collect in same-sex swarms (leks). Females and fly up and down, the behavior that gives this family its common name “dance-flies”. Females cannot hunt for prey. They receive protein from males as gifts in exchange for copulation. They swallow air, filling and extending their abdomen outward, saucer-like, falsely signaling males that their eggs are nearing maturity. The long hairy legs wrap around the abdomen, making it appear even larger. Males are attracted to females that have largest swollen abdomens and hairiest legs. An individual will break off and join the other swarm to select a mate.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Small insects

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Small insects

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30.

 
  6/18/2018      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)  
 

Suborder

Brachycera (circular-seamed flies, muscoid flies, short-horned flies)  
 

Infraorder

Muscomorpha  
  No Rank Eremoneura  
 

Superfamily

Empidoidea  
 

Family

Empididae (dance flies)  
 

Subfamily

Empidinae  
 

Genus

Rhamphomyia  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

long-tailed dance fly

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    long-tailed dance fly      
           
 
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  Troy Taylor
6/4/2019

Location: Brooklyn Park MN

   
  Alfredo Colon
6/5/2018

Location: Woodbury, MN

long-tailed dance fly  
           
 
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