Rhamphomyia longicauda, male (USA)Hilara mantis, male (Japan)Empis (Coptophlebia) anthophila, female (USA)Macrostomus smithi, female (Guyana)Rhamphomyia spirifera, male (Japan)
Dance Flies
Empis stercorea (Poland)Dance flies are a large and diverse group of insects with unique behavior and morphology (structure).  These features make them interesting subjects for studying evolution by sexual selection - the process by which traits which increase success in attracting mates or achieving fertilization are more likely to be passed to future generations.

Taxonomically, dance flies comprise the subfamily Empidinae (Diptera: Empidoidea: Empididae), with an estimated 3,000+ species.  They are found in most regions of the world, but our knowledge of dance fly diversity, behavior, and evolution are poor in many areas.

Use the links at left to explore the world of dance flies.
Illustrations- Top left: Hilarigona sp. (Chile). Above, from left: Rhamphomyia longicauda (USA), Hilara mantis (Japan), Empis anthophila (USA), Macrostomus smithi (Guyana), Rhamphomyia spirifera (Japan).  Right: Empis stercorea (Poland).  All images by Isaac Winkler, unless noted.