"Dance fly" and "dance flies" redirect here. This term is also used for some Empididae.
Bicellaria spuria (Ocydromiinae: Bicellariini)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachycera
Superfamily: Empidoidea
Family: Hybotidae

Hybotidae, the typical dance flies, are a family of true flies. They belong to the superfamily Empidoidea and were formerly included in the Empididae as a subfamily.

Some, such as Tachydromia, are predators that run around on the bark of trees in complex pattern, hence the common name. Tachydromia species are only about three millimeters long.


The Hybotidae clearly form a lineage quite distinct from the Empididae. Among the Empidoidea, they represent a lineage more basal than the main radiation of Empididae and Dolichopodidae, though they are not as ancient as the genera placed in the Atelestidae.[1][2]

By and large, the Hybotidae are monophyletic. Among its subfamilies, the Hybotinae and Tachydromiinae certainly represent clades. The status of the Ocydromiinae as a natural group is less clear, in particular whether the Trichininae should be included as tribe Trichinini or even in the Bicellariini[3] or Oedaleini,[4] or whether they are more distinct and warrant recognition as a separate subfamily.[1]

Systematic list

This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

The subfamilies with their tribes and selected genera are:[2][5][6]

Hybotinae Meigen, 1820


Ocydromia glabricula (Ocydromiinae: Ocydromiini)
Trichinomyia flavipes

Trichininae (often included in Ocydromiinae)

Tachydromia arrogans or closely related species (Tachydromiinae: Tachydromiini)


Tachypeza nubila with prey (video, 2m 23s)


  1. 1 2 Moulton, J. K.; Wiegmann, B. M. (2007). "The phylogenetic relationships of flies in the superfamily Empidoidea (Insecta: Diptera).". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 43 (3): 701–713. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.02.029. PMID 17468014.
  2. 1 2 Sinclair, Bradley J.; Cumming, Jeffrey M. (2006). "The morphology, higher-level phylogeny and classification of the Empidoidea (Diptera)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 1180: 1–172. ISBN 1-877407-80-1. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  3. Jere Kahanpää (July 23, 2008). "Hybotidae". Draft Catalogue of Finnish Flies (Diptera: Brachycera). Retrieved July 30, 2008.
  4. "Hybotidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved June 21, 2008.
  5. M. Chvála (1983). "The Empidoidea (Diptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. II. General Part. The families Hybotidae, Atelestidae and Microphoridae". Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica. 12: 1–279.
  6. Chvála, Milan (1975). The Tachydromiinae (Diptera; Empididae) of Fennoscandia and Denmark (PB). Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica. 3. Klampenborg: Scandinavian Science Press Ltd. pp. 1–336. ISBN 87-87491-04-4.
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