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Species Chrysopilus thoracicus - Golden-backed Snipe Fly

Golden Fly - Chrysopilus thoracicus - male Rhagionidae - pupa - Chrysopilus thoracicus - male Golden-backed Snipe Fly - Chrysopilus thoracicus - male striking colors - Chrysopilus thoracicus Chrysopilus thoracicus - female Golden-backed Snipe Fly? - Chrysopilus thoracicus - male - female Rhagionidae, Golden-backed Snipe Fly,n lateral - Chrysopilus thoracicus - male Chrysopilus thoracicus - male - female
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (Orthorrhapha)
Infraorder Tabanomorpha
Family Rhagionidae (Snipe Flies)
Genus Chrysopilus
Species thoracicus (Golden-backed Snipe Fly)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Chrysopilus thoracicus (Fabricius, 1805)
Explanation of Names
Genus name Chrysopilus means "golden-hair" and thoracicus refers to the golden patch on the thorax, presumably.
male: 10-12 mm; female: 10-13 mm (Leonard, 1930)
Larger than a house fly with distinctive smoky-colored wings and gold patch on upper thorax.

Another recognized species, Chrysopilus davisi, is very similar but lacks the silvery hairs on the abdomen. C. thoracicus and C. davisi seem to represented here, but they could be the same species. See photo below for what is possibly an interspecific pairing:
Eastern North America
Deciduous woodlands
Spring. April-May (North Carolina).
Adults are alleged to be predatory on other insects, but they may feed little (observations by BugGuide members).
Life Cycle
Details unknown. This fly is observed in early to mid-spring perched quietly on low vegetation in deciduous woodlands.
The coloration (dark wings, gold thorax)is perhaps mimicry of a hymenopteran. Another Chrysopilus species (see Milne and Milne, below) appears to be a very good hymenopteran mimic, with a prominently striped abdomen.
Print References
Brimley, p. 330 (1)
Eaton and Kaufman, p. 286-287, color photo (2)
Leonard, M.D. 1930. A revision of the dipterous family Rhagionidae (Leptidae) in the United States and Canada. Memoirs of the American Entomological Society 7: 1-181 (BHL link)
Lutz, Field Book of American Insects (3)
Marshall, p. 445--color photo (4)
Milne and Milne illustrate a related Chrysopilus species, the common name "Golden-backed Snipe Fly" (5)
Internet References
Giff Beaton--scroll down page for Snipe Flies
Works Cited
1.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
2.Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
Eric Eaton, Kenn Kaufman. 2006. Houghton Mifflin.
3.Field Book of Insects of the United States and Canada, Aiming to Answer Common Questions,
Frank Eugene Lutz. 1935. Putnam Pub Group.
4.Insects: Their Natural History And Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America
Stephen A. Marshall. 2006. Firefly Books Ltd.
5.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.