Ornate Snipe Fly – Chrysolpolis ornatus

Ornate Snipe Fly – Chrysolpolis ornatus
Family Rhagionidae – Snipe Flies
Flies Main | Flies Index | Tachinidae | Syrphidae | Bee Flies | Blow Flies | Flesh Flies

Live specimens photographed at Ogle County, Illinois. Size: Female= 13mm, Male= 11mm
Ornate Snipe Fly - Chrysolpolis ornatus
This female looks decidedly pregnant
The ornate snipe fly is certainly one beautiful fly. This is a large female at 13mm, found flying about amidst low foliage along a forest path. I found her male counterpart there as well. All I ever see them do is sit; all show and no go, so to speak.

Within the superfamily Tabanoidea, family Rhagionidae is recognized as a monophyletic group consisting of four subfamilies: Arthrocerinae, Chrysopilinae, Rhagioninae, and Spaniinae. There are at least 15 recognized genera. Subfamily Arthrocerinae consists of a single genus [3].

Flies in Rhagionidae have slender, tapered often pubescent bodies and stilt-like legs. The mouthparts are adapted for piercing and some species (i.e. those in genus Symphoromyia, commonly called "Rocky Mountian bite flies") are haematophagous (blood-sucking) as adults, and attack humans and other large mammals, while others are predatory on other insects.

Ornate Snipe Fly - Chrysolpolis ornatus
Ornate Snipe Fly Male
Here's a male specimen.  At 11mm, he's slightly smaller than the female

  1. Bugguide.net, “Ornate Snipe Fly
  2. Bugguide.net, Snipe Fly Chrysopilus modestus
  3. Kerr, Peter H. 2010. Zootaxa, Phylogeny and classification of Rhagionidae, with implications… Zootaxa 133: 1 – 133.
Flies of North America – Order Diptera. Flies are prevalent in virtually all habitats, with over 16,000 species in North America. Flies can be distinguished from all other insects in that they only have one pair of normal wings. Most flies have compound eyes and mouthparts adapted for piercing, lapping or sucking fluids.
Insects & Spiders | Flies Index | Syrphidae | Bee Flies | Robber Flies