Diversity, distribution and community composition of Empididae, Hybotidae and Brachystomatidae(Insecta: Diptera) in Thailand – how did they arise?

Main Article Content

Adrian R. Plant


Current knowledge of Empididae, Hybotidae and Brachystomatidae (Insecta: Diptera) in Thailand is summarized and likely diversity estimated. Currently 131 species are known but the total fauna is estimated to be 328–825 species. Rich communities are associated with many biotopes but moist evergreen forests are especially diverse. Biogeographic af fi nities at generic level and community-level distribution of taxa along environmental gradients (habitat, ecological characters, seasonality, altitude, etc.) are combined with endemicity mapping and parsimony analysis of endemism to infer how empidoid communities might have responded to historical environmental changes. A General Historical Model of empidoid communities in Thailand is presented in which (i) the onset of the monsoon cycle forced altitudinal migration of “rainforest” biota to higher elevations where seasonality was relaxed and moist conditions prevailed throughout the year, (ii) orogenesis promoted speciation as mountain ranges became higher and more isolated, (iii) developing mountain chains provided continuity and immigration “corridors” effectively connecting Thailand’s mountains with others further north and south and (iv) oscillating climatic conditions, especially during recent glacial periods, caused repeated changes in sea-level and expansion and contraction of lowland seasonal forests encouraging migration from north and south.

Article Details



Barták, M. and Kubík, S. 2008. A new species of Rhamphomyia (Pararhamphomyia) (Diptera: Empididae) from Thailand. Oriental Insects 42, 285–290.

Barták, M., Plant, A. and Kubík, S. 2013. Species of Bicellaria (Diptera: Hybotidae) from Asia. Zootaxa 3710, 233–250.

Bickel, D. 2009. Why Hilara is not amusing: the problem of open-ended taxa and the limits of taxonomic knowledge.In: Pape, T., Bickel, D and Meier, R. (Eds.), Diptera Diversity: Status, Challenges and Tools. Brill, Leiden, pp. 279–301.

Bussière, L. F., Gwynne, D. T. and Brooks, R. 2008. Contrasting sexual selection on males and females in a role-reversed swarming dance fl y, Rhamphomyia longicauda Loew (Diptera: Empididae). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21, 1683–1691.

Câmara, J. T., Plant, A. R. and Rafael, J. A. 2014. Neotropical Hemerodromia Meigen (Diptera: Empididae), a world of discovery I: new generic record and new species from the Brazilian Amazon Basin. Zootaxa 3893, 209–231.

Canon, C.H. and Manos, P. S. 2003. Phylogeography of Southeast Asian stone oaks (Lithocarpus). Journal of Biogeography 30, 211–226.

Chvála, M. 1975. The Tachydromiinae (Dipt. Empididae) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Volume 3. Scandinavian Science Press, Klampenborg, pp. 336.

Chvála, M. 1983. The Empidoidea (Diptera) of Fennoscandia and Denmark. II. General Part. The Families Hybotidae, Atelestidae and Microphoridae. Fauna Entomologica Scandinavica, Volume 12. Scandinavian Science Press, Klampenborg, pp. 279.

Cumming, J. M. and Sinclair, B. J. 2009. Empididae (dance fl ies, balloon fl ies, predaceous fl ies). In: Brown, B. V., Borkent, A., Cumming, J. M., Wood, D. M., Woodley, N. E. and Zumbado, M. A. (Eds.), Manual of Central American Diptera, Volume 1. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, pp. 653–670.

Daugeron, C. and Grootaert, P. 2005. Phylogenetic systematics of the Empis (Coptophlebia) hyalea-group (Insecta: Diptera: Empididae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 145, 339–391.

Daugeron, C., Plant, A., Shamshev, I., Stark, A. and Grootaert, P. 2011. Phylogenetic appraisal and taxonomic review of the Empis (Coptophlebia ) hyalipennis -group (Diptera: Empididae: Empidini). Invertebrate Systematics 25, 254–271.

Daugeron, C., Plant, A., Winker, I., Stark, A. and Baylac, M. 2011a. Extreme male leg polymorphic asymmetry in a new empidine dance fl y (Diptera: Empididae). Biology Letters 7, 11–14.

Graham, R. W. and Grimm, E. C. 1990. Effects of global climate change on the patterns of terrestrial biological communities. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 5, 289–292.

Grootaert, P. and Kiatsoonthorn, V. 2001. First record of the dance fly genus Hilara in Thailand with descriptions of fi ve new species (Insecta, Diptera, Empididae). Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society 49, 17–27.

Grootaert, P. and Shamshev, I. 2003. New species of Nanodromia Grootaert (Diptera: Empidoidea: Hybotidae) from Thailand. Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 3, 41–52.

Grootaert, P. and Shamshev, I. 2006. The genus Paltypalpus Macquart (Diptera: Hybotidae) from Northeast Thailand with comments on the species groups in the Oriental region. Journal of Natural History 39, 4031–4065.

Grootaert, P. and Shamshev, I. 2009. Notes on some rare genera of Hybotidae and Empididae (Diptera) from temperate regions in Thailand. Bulletin de L’Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique 79, 143–158.

Grootaert, P. and Shamshev, I. 2012. The fast-running fl ies (Diptera, Hybotidae, Tachydromiinae) of Singapore and adjacent regions. European Journal of Taxonomy 5, 1–162.

Harris, N. 2006. The elevation history of the Tibetan Plateau and its implications for the Asian monsoon. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecolgy 16, 241, 4–15.

Heaney, L. R. 1991. A synopsis of climatic and vegetational change in Southeast Asia. Climate Change 19, 53–61.

Holt, B. G., Lessard, J.-P., Borregaard, M. K., Fritz, S. A., Araújo, M. B., Dimitrov, D., Fabre, P.-H., Graham, C. H., Graves, G. R., Jønsson, K. A., Nogués-Bravo, D., Wang, Z., Whittaker, R. J., Feldså, J. and Rahbek, C. 2013. An update on Wallace’s zoogeographic regions of the world. Science 339, 74–78.

Horvat, B. 2002. Taxonomical notes and descriptions of the new Chelifera Macquart species (Diptera: Empididae). Scopolia 48, 1–28.

LeBas, N., Hockham, L. R. and Ritchie, M. G. 2003. Nonlinear and correlational sexual selection on ‘honest’ female ornamentation. Proceedings of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 270, 2159–2165.

Lefebvre, V., Fontain, C., Villemant, C. and Daugeron, C. 2014. Are empidine dance fl ies major fl ower visitors in alpine environments? A case study in the Alps, France. Biology Letters 10, 20140742 (DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0742).

Lyons, S. K. 2005. A quantitative model for assessing community dynamics of Pleistocene mammals. American Naturalist 165, E168–E185.

McCain, C. M. and Colwell, R. K. 2011. Assessing the threat to montane biodiversity from discordant shifts in temperature and precipitation during climate change. Ecology Letters 14, 1236–1245.

Morgan, K., O’Loughlin, S. M., Chen, B., Linton, Y.-M., Thongwat, D., Somboon, P., Fong, M. Y., Butlin, R., Verity, R., Prakash, A., Htun, P. T., Hlaing, T., Nambanya, S., Socheat, D., Dinh, T. H. and Walton, C. 2011. Comparative phylogeography reveals a shared impact of Pleistocene environmental change in shaping genetic diversity within nine Anopheles mosquito species across the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Molecular Ecology 20 4533–4549.

Muirhead-Thompson, R. C. 1991. Trap Responses of Flying Insects: the infl uence of trap design on capture effi ciency. Academic Press, London, pp. 304.

O’Loughlin, S. M., Okabayashi, T., Honda, M., Kitazoe, Y., Kishini, H., Somboon, P., Sochantha, T., Nambanya, S., Saikia, P. K., Dev, V. and Walton, C. 2008. Complex population history of two Anopheles dirus mosquito species in Southeast Asia suggests the infl uence of Pleistocene climatic change rather than human-mediated effects. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21, 1555–1569.

Papp, L., Merz, B. and Földvári, M. 2006. Diptera of Thailand a summary of the families and genera with references to the species representations. Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 52, 97–269.

Penny, D. 2001. A 40,000 year palynological record from north-east Thailand; its implications for biogeography and palaeo-environmental reconstruction. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 171, 97–128.

Plant, A. R. 1994. Epigamic swarming behavious of Rhamphomyia (Megacyttarus) crassirostris Fall., Hilara lundbecki Frey and Empis (Xanthempis) scutellata Curt (Empididae). Dipterists Digest 1, 72–77.

Plant, A. R. 2004. Hilara Meigen, (Diptera: Empididae) in Britain: a provisional synopsis of habitat preferences, behaviour and distribution. Acta Universitatis Carolinae Biologica 48, 165–196.

Plant, A. R. 2008. Two new species of Trichopeza Rondani (Diptera: Empidoidea: Brachystomatidae) from northern Thailand with a revised key to world species. Studia Dipterologica 15, 175–184.

Plant, A. R. 2009. Diversity of Chelipoda Macquart, 1823 (Diptera: Empididae: Hemerodromiinae) in Northern Thaailand with discussion of a biodiversity ‘hot-spot’ at Doi Inthanon. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 57, 255–277.

Plant, A. R. 2009a. Revision of the East Asian genus Achelipoda Yang, Zhang and Zhang, 2007 (Diptera: Empididae: Hemerodromiinae) including designation of a neotype for Achelipoda pictipennis (Bezzi, 1912) and descriptions of six new species. Zootaxa 2020, 37–50.

Plant, A. R. 2010. Brachystoma Meigen (Diptera: Empidoidea: Brachystomatidae) new to the Oriental (Indo Malayan) Realm: a new species from Thailand. Tropical Natural History 10, 61–66.

Plant, A. R. 2010a. Anaclastoctedon, a new genus of Hemerodromiinae (Diptera: Empididae) from Asia and Australia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 58, 15–25.

Plant, A. R. 2011. Hemerodromiinae (Diptera: Empididae), a tentative phylogeny and biogeographic discussion. Systematic Entomology 36, 83–103. Plant, A. R. 2013. The genus Hybos Meigen (Diptera: Empidoidea: Hybotidae) in Thailand. Zootaxa 3690, 1–98.

Plant, A. R. 2014. The composition and structure of Empididae, Hybotidae and Brachystomatidae communities in Thailand – how did they arise? In: Dorchin, N., Kotrba, M., Mengual, X. and Menzel, F. (Eds.), 8th International Congress of Dipterology, 10–15 August 2014, Potsdam, Germany, PCMA, Berlin, p. 260.

Plant, A. R. 2014a. Areas of endemism in Thailand: has historical partitioning between seasonally dry lowland and aseasonal moist mountain forests shaped biodiversity in Southeast Asia? Raffl es Bulletin of Zoology 62, 812–821.

Plant, A. R., Surin, C., Saokhod, R. and Srisuka, W. 2011. Higher taxon diversity, abundance and community structure of Empididae, Hybotidae and Brachysto matidae (Diptera: Empidoidea) in tropical forests –results of mass-sampling in Thailand. Studia Dipterologica 18, 121–149.

Plant, A. R., Shamshev, I. and Perkovsky, E. 2012. A late Eocene fossil Hemerodromia Meigen, 1822 (Diptera, Empididae: Hemerodromiinae) from Rovno amber. Studia Dipterologica 18, 79–84.

Plant, A. R., Surin, C., Saokhod, R. and Srisuka, W. 2012a. Elevational gradients of diversity and species composition of Hemerodromiinae (Diptera: Empididae) at Doi Inthanon, Thailand: has historical partitioning between seasonally dry lowland and aseasonal moist mountain forests contributed to the biodiversity of Southeast Asia? Tropical Natural History 12, 9–20.

Pramual, P., Kongim, B. and Nanork, P. 2011. Phylogeography of Simulium siamense Takaoka and Suzuki complex (Diptera: Simuliidae) in Thailand. Entomological Science 14, 428–436.

Pramual, P., Kuvangkadilok, C., Baimai, V. and Walton, C. 2005. Phylogeny of the black fl y Simulium tani (Diptera: Simuliidae) from Thailand as inferred from mtDNA sequences. Molecular Ecology 14, 3989– 4001.

Pramual, P. and Wongpakam, K. 2013. Population genetics of the high elevation black fl y Simulium (Nevermannia) feuerborni Edwards in Thailand. Entomological science 16, 298–308.

Royden, C., Burchfi eld, B. C. and van der Hilst, R. D. 2008. The geological evolution of the Tibetan Plateau. Science 321, 1054–1058.

Shamshev, I. and Grootaert, P. 2004. Description of three new yellow Hilara species (Diptera: Empididae) from Southeast Asia. Belgian Journal of Entomology 6, 393–401.

Shamshev, I. and Grootaert, P. 2004a. A review of the genus Stilpon Loew, 1859 (Empidoidea: Hybotidae) from the Oriental region. Raffl es Bulletin of Zoology 52, 315–346.

Shamshev, I. and Grootaert, P. 2007. Revision of the genus Elaphropeza Macquart (Diptera: Hybotidae) from the Oriental region, with special attention to the fauna of Singapore. Zootaxa 1488, 1–164.

Shamshev, I. and Grootaert, P. 2008. New and little-known species of the genus Tachydromia Meigen (Diptera, Hybotidae) from Thailand. Zootaxa 1830, 21–36.

Sinclair, B. J. 1995. Generic revision of the Clinocerinae (Empididae), and description and phylogenetic relationships of the Trichopezinae, new status (Diptera: Empidoidea). Canadian Entomologist 127, 665–752.

Sinclair, B. J. 2008. The Systematics of New World Clinocera Meigen (Diptera: Empididae: Clinocerinae). NRC Research Press, Ottawa, pp. 245.

Sinclair, B. J. and Cumming, J. M. 2000. Revision of the genus Apterodromia (Diptera: Empidoidea) with a redefi nition of the tribe Ocydromiini. Records of the Australian Museum 52, 161–186.

Sinclair, B. J. and Cumming, J. M. 2006. The morphology, higher-level phylogeny and classification of the Empidoidea (Diptera). Zootaxa, 1180, 1–172.

Steyskal, G. C. and Knutson, L. V. 1981. Empididae. In: McAlpine, J. F., Peterson, G.E. Shewell, G. E., Teskey, H. J., Vockeroth, J. R. and Wood, D. M. (Coords.), Manual of Nearctic Diptera, Volume 1, Agriculture Canada Monograph, 27, Research Branch Agriculture Canada, Ottawa. pp. 607–624.

Voris, H. K. 2000. Maps of Pleistocene sea levels in Southeast Asia; shorelines, river systems and time durations. Journal of Biogeography 27, 337–358.

Walker, F. 1851. Insecta Britannica. Diptera, Volume 1, Reeve and Benham, London, pp. 370. Werner, W. L. 1997. Pines and other conifers in Thailand – a Quaternary relic? Journal of Quaternary Science 12 1153–1167.

Yang, D., Zhu, Y., Wang, M. and Zhang, L. 2006. World catalog of Dolichopodidae (Insecta: Diptera). China Agricultural Press, Beijing, pp. 704.

Yang, D., Zhang, K., Yao, G. and Zhang, J. 2007. World catalog of Empididae (Insecta: Diptera). China Agricultural Press, Beijing, pp. 599.

Zhu, H. 2008. The tropical fl ora of southern Yunnan, China, and its biogeographic affinities. Annals of the Missouri Botanic Garden 95, 661–680.