Ornate Snipe Fly – Chrysopolis ornatus

Ornate Snipe Fly – Chrysopolis ornatus

color photo Ornate Snipe Fly female dorsal view

Female dorsal

Family Rhagionidae – Snipe Flies
Live male and female specimens photographed at Ogle County, Illinois. Size: Female= 13mm, Male= 11mm

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.

color photo Ornate Snipe Fly male dorsal view

Male dorsal

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].

color photo Ornate Snipe Fly female lateral view

This female looks decidedly pregnant.

color photo ornate snipe fly male extreme close up

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 Mountain bite flies”) are haematophagous (blood-sucking) as adults, and attack humans and other large mammals, while others are predatory on other insects.


  1. Bugguide.net, Ornate Snipe Fly
  2. Bugguide.net, Ornate Snipe Fly – Chrysopilus ornatus – Male
  3. Bugguide.net, Snipe Fly Chrysopilus modestus
  4. Kerr, Peter H. 2010. Zootaxa, Phylogeny and classification of Rhagionidae, with implications… Zootaxa 133: 1 – 133.

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