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Family Rhagionidae - Snipe Flies

Rhagionid - Chrysopilus proximus BG817 C7510 - Chrysopilus velutinus - female Large Black+Gold fly - Chrysopilus thoracicus - male fly on rail - Rhagio mystaceus Predaceous larva, head anterior - Symphoromyia Wasp or type of fly in copulation? - Chrysopilus ornatus - male - female long-legged fly - Rhagio Chrysopilus thoracicus - female
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Infraorder Tabanomorpha
Family Rhagionidae (Snipe Flies)
Other Common Names
sometimes called 'downlooker flies' because of the characteristic resting stance(1)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Classification has been unstable(2)
Recently split into 3 families, incl. Bolbomyiidae and the exotic Austroleptidae (Chile, Australia; 8 spp.) with a single genus each(3)
Explanation of Names
Rhagionidae Latreille 1892
Numbers
~100 spp. in 8 genera in our area; worldwide, >750 spp. in 17 extant genera arranged in 4 subfamilies, all represented in our area as follows:(3)
Arthrocerinae: a single genus worldwide, Arthroceras, with 4 spp. in our area, 8 spp. total
Chrysopilinae: 3 genera worldwide, one very large and nearly cosmopolitan (Chrysopilus) + 2 small genera restricted to the Philippines
Rhagioninae: 5 genera worldwide, of which Rhagio (Holarctic + some Oriental) is by far the largest, 2 restricted to the southern hemisphere, one to tropical Asia, and one to Mexico (Sierramyia)
Spaniinae: 6 genera (with ~80 spp.) worldwide, of which one genus is endemic to Australia and the remaining five are all Holarctic and represented in our area by 43 spp., incl. Symphoromyia (by far the largest), Litoleptis, Omphalophora, Ptiolina, and Spania
Identification
Head somewhat rounded; abdomen relatively long and tapering, legs rather long. The body may be bare or covered with short hairs. Most snipe flies are brownish or gray, but some are black with spots or stripes of white, yellow or green.
NB: In couplet 1 of the key in (4), the 2 and 5 are backwards.(5)
Range
Worldwide; less than half of our spp. are eastern(6)
Habitat
Adults common in woods, esp. near moist places, usually found on foliage or grass, resting head down; larvae in moist meadow soil, moss, decaying wood (incl. galleries of wood-boring insects), under bark, occasionally in water(6)(7)
Food
adults and larvae prey on small insects. Most do not bite, but Symphoromyia females are common biting pests in the west(8)(7)
Remarks
This family contains some of the most primitive extant Brachycera, and may have diversified ca. 170 mya
Works Cited
1.Insects: Their Natural History And Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America
Stephen A. Marshall. 2006. Firefly Books Ltd.
2.Revision of the genera of the Rhagionidae of the world (Diptera: Brachycera)
Kerr P.H. 2004. U. Maryland.
3.Phylogeny and classification of Rhagionidae, with implications for Tabanomorpha (Diptera: Brachycera)
Kerr P.H. 2010. Zootaxa 2592: 1–133.
4.Manual of Nearctic Diptera Volume 1
Varies for each chapter; edited by J.F. McAlpine, B.V. Petersen, G.E. Shewell, H.J. Teskey, J.R. Vockeroth, D.M. Wood. 1981. Research Branch Agriculture Canada.
5.Manual of Nearctic Diptera Volume 2
Varies for each chapter; edited by J.F. McAlpine, B.V. Petersen, G.E. Shewell, H.J. Teskey, J.R. Vockeroth, D.M. Wood. 1987. Research Branch Agriculture Canada.
6.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
7.Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Gary Mullen, Lance Durden. 2002. Academic Press.
8.Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects
Norman F. Johnson, Charles A. Triplehorn. 2004. Brooks Cole.