longlegged flies

(Dolichopus spp.)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus sp.)
Photo by Alfredo Colon

Dolichopus is a large genus of long-legged fly. There are 613 currently recognized species of Dolichopus worldwide, 317 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 56 species in Minnesota. None of the species have been given a common name.

The genus name is from the Greek and translates to “long foot”, referring to the length of the tarsus, the last part of the leg.


Adults are found in marshy places and meadows. They are most abundant on mud at a water¹s edge, but they can also found perched on low vegetation. They prey on small insects. Larvae are found in wet soil and decaying vegetation, under soil, and in water. They prey on small invertebrates.

Males wave their modified forelegs in a courtship display.


Adults are small, mostly less than 516 (8 mm) in length. Almost all species are bright metallic green and blue. The antennae have three segments and a long bristle (arista) at the base of the third segment. The elongated mouthparts (palps) have just one segment. On the male the genitalia are large, conspicuous, and folded under the abdomen.

The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments. On the male, the last tarsal segment on the front leg is flattened, flag-like. The last tarsal segment on the hind leg has several spines in the upper side. This feature separates the genus Dolichopus from all other fly genera in North America. On the wing, the radial sector (Rs) vein has two branches and is slightly swollen at the fork. The radial-media (r-m) cross vein, a short vein between the radius and media veins, is in the basal quarter of the wing. The basal cells are very small.

The larvae are maggot-like.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82.

Van Duzee, M. C., Frank R. Cole, and John M. Aldrich. 1921. The dipterous genus Dolichopus in North America. Bull. U.S. Natn. Mus 116.



Diptera (flies)  


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


Asilomorpha (Orthorrhapha)  


Empidoidea (dance flies, long-legged flies, and allies)  


Dolichopodidae (long-legged flies)  





Subordinate Taxa


longlegged fly (Dolichopus acuminatus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus affluens)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus ainsliei)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus albicoxa)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus angustatus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus apheles)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus barbicauda)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus bifractus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus canadensis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus coercens)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus coloradensis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus comatus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus contiguus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus cuprinus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus dakotensis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus detersus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus discolor)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus eudactylus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus finitus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus flagellitens)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus fulvipes)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus gratus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus incisuralis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus indigenus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus jugalis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus laticornis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus latipes)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus lobatus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus longimanus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus longipennis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus luteipennis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus melanocerus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus nigricornis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus nodipennis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus nubifer)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus omnivagus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus ovatus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus pachycnemus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus plumipes)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus pulchrimanus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus ramifer)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus reflectus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus remipes)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus renidescens)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus sarotes)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus scapularis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus setifer)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus sicarius)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus sincerus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus socius-gladius)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus tener)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus variabilis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus versutus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus viridis)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus vittatus)

longlegged fly (Dolichopus walkeri)






Common Names


This genus has no common name. The common name for the family Dolichopodidae is longlegged flies, and it is applied here for convenience.










A large bristle on the upper side of the third segment of the antenna of a fly.



Short for pedipalp. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and insects, and as weapons in scorpions. Plural: palpi or palps.



On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.






Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Alfredo Colon

    longlegged fly (Dolichopus sp.)   longlegged fly (Dolichopus sp.)  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos








Visitor Videos

Share your video of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.


Other Videos
  LONGLEGGED FLY, Dolichopus about to reproduce
Rob Curtis

Feb 29, 2020

LONGLEGGED FLY, Dolichopus about to reproduce. Grainy because of the deep shade it was in. took off before dropping the larva.

  Long-legged Fly (Dolichopodidae: Dolichopus) Missing Two legs
Carl Barrentine

Jun 22, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (21 June 2010).

  Long-legged Fly (Dolichopodidae: Dolichopus) Feeding
Carl Barrentine

Jun 20, 2010

Photographed at Grand Forks, North Dakota (19 June 2010).




Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Albany, NY

longlegged fly (Dolichopus sp.)  
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

longlegged fly (Dolichopus sp.)  
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings






Created: 1/22/2021

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.