IUCN SSC Mid-Atlantic Island Invertebrates Specialist Group


BackKowarzia azorica Wagner & Stauder, 1991

Kowarzia azorica Wagner & Stauder, 1991

Empid fly, Dance fly

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Diptera
  • Family: Empididae
NT Near Treatened
IUCN Red List Status:

Countries of Occurrence:
Portugal - Azores


Danielczak, A.


Facilitators / Compilers/s:

Assessment Rationale:

Kowarzia azorica is an endemic species of the Azores (Portugal), known from Corvo, Flores, Faial, S. Jorge and Terceira islands. From the historical data, this species has a relatively small extent of occurrence (EOO = 14,896 km2) and a limited area of occupancy (AOO = 128 km2); and it is possible that this species has declined in the past as a result of human activity. The present situation of this species needs to be further assessed, and further research is needed into its population, distribution, threats, ecology and life history. However, the EOO and AOO of the species are relatively small, on the global scale, and if there were more data available it is possible that the species could qualify as threatened under criterion B. Therefore, the species is assessed as Near Threatened. Conservation of native wet and boggy areas and natural streams and other water bodies could potentially aid this species' conservation.

Geographic Range:

Kowarzia azorica is an Azorean-endemic species described from the islands of Corvo, Flores, Faial, S. Jorge and Terceira (Azores, Portugal) (Borges et al. 2010). It is known from a wide variety of humid habitats. Based on the historical data (Frey 1945), the extent of occurrence (EOO) could be ca 14,896 km² and the area of occupancy (AOO) could be ca 128 km². However, recent information regarding the distribution of this species is scarce.

Portugal - Azores
Extent of Occurrence (EOO):
14896 (km2)
Area of Occupancy (AOO):
128 (km2)
Elevation Lower Limit:
0 (m)
Elevation Upper Limit:
1000 (m)
Biogeographic Realms:
Endemic Azores


No current population size estimates exist for this species.

Habitat and Ecology

The ecology and traits of this species are unknown. Empididae are mainly predatory flies. Adult empidids are found in a variety of forest habitats, on the leaves of plants, on tree trunks, aquatic vegetation and also in stream beds and seepage habitats (McAlpine et al. 1981). Adults capture arthropod prey, including other Diptera, Hemiptera and Lepidoptera, among others. Some adult Empididae species also feed on nectar and pollen (McAlpine et al. 1981). Larvae are generally found in moist soil, rotten wood, dung, or in aquatic habitats. Larvae often feed on decaying organic matter is the soil, but most are likely predatory (McAlpine et al. 1981). As predators, Empididae species are important biocontrol agents of various pest insect species (McAlpine et al. 1981). Species from the subfamily Clinoceridae are typically found near water. Kowarzia azorica specimens have been found in several streams and gullies, near lagoons, above the intertidal area, in wet mountainsides or other wet environments.

Major Threat(s):

A lack of information regarding the present status of this species precludes an assessment of potential threats. Nevertheless, the ecology of other members of the Empididae family suggests that this species might be affected by future habitat declines as a consequence of climate change (Ferreira et al. 2016) and increased droughts. Contamination of surface waters by agricultural and livestock runoff can also potentially affect this species. Past human disturbance and land use changes might have also affected this species.

Conservation Actions

The species is not protected by regional law. The present situation of this species needs to be further assessed and further research is needed into its population, distribution, threats, ecology and life history. From what is known of its habitat preferences, conservation of native forests and of natural streams and water bodies could potentially aid this species' conservation. Historically at least, this species was present in areas that are currently included in the Natural Parks of Corvo, Faial and Terceira.