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The Tanypezidae are also known as the “stretched-foot flies”. It is a small family of true flies in the Acalyptrata that is found mostly in the New World, with the larger genus Neotanypeza (26 species) found in the Neotropics, and Tanypeza (2 species) found in North America, with one of these species extending into the Palaearctic. One species of Neotanypeza, N. dominicana, is an extinct species known from Dominican amber.
Species of Tanypezidae are relatively large, and have a semi-spherical head and stout bodies that are perched atop long, thin legs, the latter of which have sometimes allied them with the families Neriidae and Micropezidae. The head and thorax are also often very dark with contrasting silver-haired stripes and spots.