Empis opaca


Length: Male 6 to 9.5 mm, Female 6.8 to 10 mm. This group of flies, sometimes called Dance flies, are predators of other insects, often tackling large prey, using their long, dagger-like snout. This species is distinguished from the very similar Empis livida by having four dark stripes on the thorax - a central short pair and longer outer stripes. Like Empis lividia, the legs are mainly red/orange.

Identification difficulty

Along hedgerows where it takes other insects and nectars on flowers.

When to see it

April and May.

Life History

Males of E. opaca and E. tessellata  present a 'gift' to the female, in the form of a dead insect, before mating takes place. Females will not mate with males who do not present a gift.

UK Status

Fairly common and widespread in England and Wales, fewer records from Scotland.

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
07/07/2005 (Nicholls, David)
Last record:
15/05/2023 (Nicholls, David)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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