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Stilt-Legged Fly



Stilt-legged Fly, Micropezidae,  photo © by Laurie Nessel

This stilt-legged fly was observed close to the gently flowing waters of Mesquite Spring, e. Maricopa Co., Arizona, Oct. 2009. It was photographed by Laurie Nessel, a Tempe artist doing stained glass as well as glass blowing. It is less than 8 mm in length.

Micropezidae -- Stilt-Legged Fly Family

Stilt-legged flies are harmless to people, and for observers of nature they offer plenty of fascinating behavior to watch. They engage in rather elaborate courtship dances on vegetation near moist, organic-rich soil where their eggs will be laid and immature larval stages develop.

As a true fly, order Diptera, micropezids have one pair of wings, plus a pair of haltere's, knob-ended appendages posterior to flight wings that aid in stabilization rather like a gyroscope. This insect's legs are long and spindly and may have evolved as part of the courtship dancing pressures. There are close to three dozen species described for North America and most are less than 1 cm long.

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