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Family Rhagionidae - Snipe Flies

Fly - Chrysopilus quadratus - male fly? - Chrysopilus ornatus Snipe fly, right - Chrysopilus tomentosus - male silver color fly - Chrysopilus griffithi Fly Stanwood WA - Rhagio mating flies - Rhagio - male - female Snipe fly – Chrysopilus fasciatus? - Chrysopilus Orange Fly - Rhagio
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Infraorder Tabanomorpha
Family Rhagionidae (Snipe Flies)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Recently split into 3 families, incl. Bolbomyiidae and the exotic Austroleptidae (Chile, Australia; 8 spp.) with a single genus each(1)
Explanation of Names
Rhagionidae Latreille 1892
~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:(1)
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
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 (2), the 2 and 5 are backwards.(3)
Worldwide; less than half of our spp. are eastern(4)
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(4)(5)
Both adults and larvae are predaceous on a variety of small insects. Most do not bite, but Symphoromyia females [known as Rocky Mountain Bite Flies(6)] are common biting pests in the western mountains and coastal areas(7)(5)
This family contains some of the most primitive living members of the Brachycera, and is believed to have diversified as early as 170 million years ago. The classification has been unstable for decades.(8) The head-down resting stance characteristic to many common spp. has earned them the nick name 'downlooker flies'.(6)
Works Cited
1.Phylogeny and classification of Rhagionidae, with implications for Tabanomorpha (Diptera: Brachycera)
Kerr P.H. 2010. Zootaxa 2592: 1–133.
2.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.
3.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.
4.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
5.Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Gary Mullen, Lance Durden. 2002. Academic Press.
6.Insects: Their Natural History And Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America
Stephen A. Marshall. 2006. Firefly Books Ltd.
7.Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects
Norman F. Johnson, Charles A. Triplehorn. 2004. Brooks Cole.
8.Revision of the genera of the Rhagionidae of the world (Diptera: Brachycera)
P.H. Kerr. 2004. University of Maryland.