Research project: Revisions of Australian Dolichopodidae -various genera


Start date:

Museum investigators

  • Dr Dan Bickel , Research Scientist


My specialty is the systematics of the superfamily Empidoidea, which includes the families Dolichopodidae (long-legged flies) and Empididae (dance flies).

Most of my attention has focused on the Dolichopodidae, a highly diverse but poorly studied family of Diptera. These tiny metallic coloured flies are notable for the development of elaborate male secondary sexual characters and mating behaviour. I am continuing work on the rich Australasian and Oriental faunas, but consider the family on a world basis. Although more than 6,000 species are known for the world, several times that number await description. The family is most diverse in the tropics, and mass collecting techniques take large numbers of specimens, many of which cannot be properly ascribed even to genus. Their ease of collecting, diversity and abundance makes the family ideal for biodiversity studies.

To date, in the families Dolichopodidae and Empididae, I have described solely 29 new genera and 515 new species, and 24 additional species in co-authorship.

This is on-going revisionary work.

Dr Dan Bickel , Research Scientist
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