Snipe Fly – Rhagio mystaceus

Snipe Fly – Rhagio mystaceus
Family Rhagionidae
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Live adult male fly photographed on shagbark hickory (Carya ovata).  Length: 9mm  Wingspan: 15mm
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 [1].

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.

They are commonly called "down-looker" flies for their habit of perching head-downward on tree trunks.

  1. 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. The other pair has evolved into small ball-like structures called halteres. Most flies have compound eyes and mouthparts adapted for piercing, lapping or sucking fluids.
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