Environmental change is not likely to act on biodiversity in a random manner, but rather according to species traits that affect assembly processes, thus, having potentially serious consequences on ecological functions. We investigated the effects of anthropogenic land use on functional richness of local hoverfly communities of 24 agricultural landscapes across temperate Europe. A multivariate ordination separated seven functional groups based on resource use, niche characteristics and response type. Intensive land use reduced functional richness, but each functional group responded in a unique way. Species richness of generalist groups was nearly unaffected. Local habitat quality mainly affected specialist groups, while land use affected intermediate groups of rather common species. We infer that high species richness within functional groups alone is no guarantee for maintaining functional richness. Thus, it is not species richness per se that improves insurance of functional diversity against environmental pressures but the degree of dissimilarity within each functional group.