Long Legged Fly, Dolichopodidae, Genus Condylostylus

You may have the urge to chase a “fly” away naturally.  But this little guy is not your average fly, he is beneficial and you want to keep him around.  I found that he is a rather friendly little guy.  Unlike a lot of other insects that run away this little guy is not too easily shaken from the area he is choosing to hang out in.

Getting To Know Him

His size ranges from 1-9 mm in length. And as you can see he has nice long legs and a slender build.  Most of the species are a metallic green and blue or a metallic green and bronze. Some may be a yellow that is non-metallic as well. There is over 6500 described species  and 200 genera of this little guy and he is found in all zoogeographic regions.  Here in the United States there is about 1300 species and 57 genera. The larvae is white and looks a lot like a maggot.  Its front end is creeping and it’s back end is truncated.  The pupae has a long pair of dorsal prothoracic respiratory horns and a pair of frontofacial sutures. When the final instar spins a cocoon it incapsulates soil particles and pieces of debris from the earth into it’s little package. You have to wonder what the does by design. Nature is so amazing!


Typically the long legged fly is found in wet areas.  If you live round the river, you would find them here.  Many species like to be under trees and other vertical surfaces.  The larvae of course will be in soil that is moist, leafs, moss, mud, under bark, tree hole debris plant tissue, decaying seaweed, sap wounds ad algal mats.  And then there are the species that we find ourselves most familiar with, the little guy that likes a drier climate and grasslands or urban gardens.  These little guys react very quickly to environmental change, therefore making them a useful tool for site quality assessment in the field of conservation and planning and development.

What Does He Eat?

The long legged fly eats soft-bodied invertebrates.  Adult flies are predaceous on small mites , Aphids and flea hoppers, booklice,  thrips, flies, silverfish, small caterpillars and other insects.  You really want to have this little guy in your yard and in your garden.  He is a very beneficial little guy.

He will eat nectar from flowers of needed for a carbohydrate source. So remember to have a source of small flowers close by for all of your beneficials!

13 Responses

  1. well i was hoping about a very long leeged one like very thin body and long legs…..cause what do they do?

  2. .cause what do they do?

  3. Great info. I have quite a few of these in my honeydew Mellon vines. Good to know they help out. I was worried.

  4. how long do they live for

  5. […] and I photographed him on some French Marigolds, which turned out very nice. I found out he was a long legged fly and that they are good for gardens because they prey on pest bugs. I also got a shot of the Common […]

  6. Hi there, I have been bitten by a long legged fly with red legs and metallic blue body. Is this anything to worry about?
    Thank you

  7. […] flies, by the way, are good to have in the garden because they eat plant pests. This US site lists “small mites, Aphids and flea hoppers, booklice, thrips, flies, silverfish, small […]

  8. They lay a lot of eggs and their larvae eats their leaf tissues and in a matter of few days the entire leaf is full of leaf mining trails and it wilts in a few days. Is it damaging for the plant apart from the obvious cosmetic damage? How can this be controlled?

  9. These little guys love to live on my jalapeno plants! No matter where I move around Houston, when I plant a jalapeno start in the yard, atleast one of these flies moves in within 24 hours. (:

  10. Do these flies eat monarch caterpillars?

  11. […] ones that are metallic gold, instead of green. You can learn about them in this online article, the Long legged Fly. Like flower flies, adults visit flowers for nectar, and larvae eat soft-bodied insects. Their […]

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