long-tailed dance fly

(Rhamphomyia longicauda)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

long-tailed dance fly

NatureServe

not listed

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Common

Flight/Season

May to July

Habitat

Deciduous woods near water

Size

Total Length: 5 16 to

         
          Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

This 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.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

Small insects

 
Adult Food

Small insects

 
Life Cycle

 

 
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.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30.

 
Comments

 

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Diptera (gnats, mosquitoes, true flies)

 

Suborder:

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

 

Infraorder:

Muscomorpha

 

No Rank:

Eremoneura

 

Superfamily:

Empidoidea

 

Family:

Empididae (dance flies)

 

Subfamily:

Empidinae

 
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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