Rhagionidae or snipe flies are a small family of flies. They got their name from the similarity of their often prominent proboscis that looks like the beak of a snipe.[4]

Temporal range: Anisian–Recent
Schnepfenfliege Rhagio scolopaceus2.jpg
Rhagio scolopaceus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Diptera
Suborder: Brachycera
Infraorder: Tabanomorpha
Superfamily: Rhagionoidea
Family: Rhagionidae
Latreille, 1802[1]


Rhagionidae are medium-sized to large flies with slender bodies and stilt-like legs. The mouthparts are adapted for piercing and many species are haematophagous as adults, while others are predatory on other insects. They are typically brown and yellow flies, and lack bristles. The larvae are also predatory and are mostly terrestrial, although some are aquatic.[5]

Snipe flies in the genus Rhagio are sometimes called "down-looker" flies after their habit of perching head-downward on tree trunks.


Rhagio mystaceus
"down-looker fly"
Chrysopilus thoracicus mating - Female(top) and Male(bottom)

The family is contained in Brachycera infraorder Tabanomorpha, and several of its constituent groups have been recently elevated to family rank. Atherix (and related genera) now comprise the Athericidae, Vermileo (and related genera) now comprise the Vermileonidae, and the genera Austroleptis and Bolbomyia are each now the sole members of their own families (Austroleptidae and Bolbomyiidae). The subfamily Spaniinae was sometimes accorded family rank, but this is not accepted in the most recent revisionary classification.[6]

Rhagio scolopaceus
exhibiting its "down-looker" behaviour

List of generaEdit

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Bezzi, M. 1928. Diptera Brachycera and Athericera of the Fiji Islands based on material in the British Museum (Natural History). British Museum (Natural History), London. viii + 220 pp.
  • Lindner, E 1924–1925. Rhagionidae in Die Fliegen der Paläarktischen Region 4 (20) 1–49. ISBN 3-510-43016-6 Keys to genera and species.
  • Stuckenberg, B., 1960. Diptera (Brachycera): Rhagionidae. S.Afr. anim. Life 7: 216–308 Keys to genera and species.
  • Stuckenberg, B., 1965. The Rhagionidae of Madagascar (Diptera). Ann.Natal Mus. 18:89–170. Keys to genera and species.
  • 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.[11]
  • Malloch, J. R., 1932. Rhagionidae, Therevidae. British Museum (Natural History). Dept. of Entomology [eds] Diptera of Patagonia and South Chile, based mainly on material in the British Museum (Natural History). Part V. Fascicle 3. - Rhagionidae (Leptidae), Therevidae, Scenopinidae, Mydaidae, Asilidae, Lonchopteridae. pp. 199–293.
  • Nagatomi, A. & Soroida, K., 1985. The structure of the mouthparts of the orthorrhaphous Brachycera (Diptera) with special reference to blood-sucking. Beitr. Ent. 35 (2): 263–368, 480.
  • Kerr, P. H., 2010. Phylogeny and classification of Rhagionidae, with implications for Tabanomorpha (Diptera: Brachycera). Zootaxa 2592: 1–133. Abstract.


  1. ^ a b Latreille, P.A. (1802). Histoire naturelle, generale et particuliere, des crustaces et des insectes. Tome troisieme. Paris: Dufart. pp. xii + 13–467 + 1 pp.
  2. ^ a b Nagatomi, A.; Saigusa, T. (1982). "[New genus] p. 40. In Nagatomi, A. 1982. The genera of Rhagionidae (Diptera)". Journal of Natural History. 16: 31–70.
  3. ^ Burmeister, H.C. (1837). Handbuch der Naturgeschichte. [Part 2]. Berlin: Enslin. pp. xii + pp. 369-858.
  4. ^ Snipe Fly (Family Rhagionidae) uwm.edu, 1 July 2014
  5. ^ Watson & Dallwitz
  6. ^ Kerr, P.H. 2010: Phylogeny and classification of Rhagionidae, with implications for Tabanomorpha (Diptera: Brachycera). Zootaxa, 2592: 1–133.
  7. ^ Williston, S.W. (1886). "On two interesting genera of Leptidae". Ent. Am. 2: 105–108.
  8. ^ a b Bezzi, M. (1926). "South African Rhagionidae (Diptera) in the South African Museum". Annals of the South African Museum. 23: 297–324. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  9. ^ Kovalev, V.G.; Mostovski, M.B. (1997). "A new genus of rhagionid-flies (Diptera, Rhagionidae) from Mesozoic deposits of the Eastern Transbaikalia". Paleont. Zhur. 5: 86–90.
  10. ^ Fabricius, J.C. (1775). Systema entomologiae, sistens insectorum classes, ordines, genera, species, adiectis synonymis, locis, descriptionibus, observationibus. Flensbvrgi et Lipsiae [= Flensburg & Leipzig]: Kortii. pp. [32] + 832. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  11. ^ Leonard, Mortimer 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, 3 pls. Retrieved 23 June 2022.

External linksEdit

  Data related to Rhagionidae at Wikispecies