Currently viewing the category: "Snipe Flies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown fly from western MD
Location: Western Maryland
May 30, 2013 2:36 am
Hi Bugman,
Another query for you. This one I’m fairly sure is a fly, at least. I looked through the fly pages, but couldn’t find anything that looked similar.
Photo was taken 5/26/13 in Swallow Falls State Park in western Maryland, in a forested area about 100 yards away from the river. Subject was about the size of a regular house fly. Apologies for the lack of detail, picture taken with iphone.
Signature: long time reader, first time caller

Snipe Fly

Snipe Fly

Dear long time reader,
We believe this is a Snipe Fly.  You can compare your image to the Common Snipe Fly,
Rhagio mystaceus, photos on BugGuide.  There isn’t much species information posted, but the data page shows most sightings in May and June.  The family page on BugGuide states:  “Both adults and larvae are predaceous on a variety of small insects.”   

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unknown PA flies
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
May 28, 2012 8:51 am
So there are these flies in the back yard and we can’t figure out what they are. They look a bit like deer flies, but have this really bright yellow gold furry thorax. Then we found two engaged in — um — adult activities and it looks like the males and females have different coloring. They are about 3/4 inch long. Any idea what kind of flies these are? Thanks!
Signature: Jeff

Mating Golden Backed Snipe Flies

Hi Jeff,
Your photograph is of mating Golden Backed Snipe Flies,
Chrysopilus thoracicus, and each spring we get a few identification requests and they are often of mating pairs.  According to BugGuide:  “Life Cycle Details unknown. This fly is observed in early to mid-spring perched quietly on low vegetation in deciduous woodlands.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Yellow spotted fly
Location: Biggsville, Il.
June 9, 2011 10:06 am
Yesterday I saw what I believe to be a fly in the shade garden. It had one bright yellow spot on it.
Signature: Randy

Golden Backed Snipe Fly

Hi Randy,
Each June we get several identification requests for Golden Backed Snipe Flies from the northern states in the midwest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Fly-like insect with black lacy wings&gold head or throat
Location: western Pennsylvania (Armstrong County)
May 29, 2011 11:41 pm
I have a photo of 2 insects copulating (at least ( believe that’s what they were doing) in the grass at Crooked Creek Lake/Dam/Park in Armstrong County in western Pennsylvania. I cannot find them in 2 insect books I have and have posted the photo on an About.com Insect forum. I have watched dragonflies and damselflies, and other insects while birding but have never seen this particular insect.
Signature: Thanks from a birder/nature lover

Mating Golden Backed Snipe Flies

Dear birder/nature lover,
Despite the blurriness of your image, these are unmistakably Golden Backed Snipe Flies,
Chrysopilus thoracicus, and they are in fact “In Flagrante Delicto”.  They were our Bug of the Month in June 2009.  They fly in late spring.

Thank you, thank you, Daniel (Bugman extraordinaire).  I have become almost as interested in insects as I was in birds and critters.  I appreciate your ability to identify the flies in my poor “but idable” photo.  I have photos of other insects I was able to id such as the 6-spotted Tiger Beetle some people misrepresent as the deadly Ash Borer and once while birding up near Punxatawney, PA on the Shadow Mahoning Trail a few of us were awed while watching a Giant Ichneumon Wasp fly around us (looking for a log to lay her eggs on no doubt) and none of us had a camera!!!
Marge from Armstrong County, Pa’

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Is this a horse Fly?
Location: Roxboro, NC
May 16, 2011 2:09 pm
This bug was flittering with some northern cloudywing butterflys. they were chasing it away from the flowers. I thought it was a small butterfly but looking at the pictures later I decided it might be a Hoarse Fly but can’t find one with the bright yellow eyes. I live in Northern North Carolina. It was sighted on May 16 in the morning in my rural flower garden near a stream, woods and a meadow.
Signature: Thanks, J Armacost

Golden Backed Snipe Fly

Dear J,
This is a Golden Backed Snipe Fly,
Chrysopilus thoracicus, and each spring, we receive several new images for our archive.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults are alleged to be predatory on other insects, but they may feed little (observations by BugGuide members).”  Additionally, bugGuide indicates that the details of the life cycle are unknown.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Strange fly from Texas
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
May 13, 2011 8:19 pm
I have recently noticed a few of these flies on my apartment patio that I have never seen before. They started appearing the last week in April. I haven’t seen more than 3 at any one time, usually only one is hanging around. They are not scared easily and I was able to get VERY close to take pictures without any problem. Seems like they appeared after some recent heavy rain, but I’m not certain there is a connection. Please help me identify this insect, I have more pictures if needed. Thank you for your time.
Signature: Robert E.

Snipe Fly

Dear Robert,
Though we were unable to locate an exact visual match, your fly has the necessary characteristics for us to deduce that it must be a Big Headed Fly in the family Pipunculidae which is profiled on BugGuide.  The identification description is:  “Hemispheric head almost completely made up of the huge compound eyes. Body usually black. Wings tend to be elongated and to be narrowed at the base. Antennae are aristate and the (usually long) arista arises on the dorsal side of the antenna. Dissection of genitalia normally required for identification of species.”  We eagerly welcome our readership to either confirm or make a correction to our identification.

Update:  June 28, 2014
Thanks to a comment, we now know that this is a Snipe Fly,
Chrysopilus basilaris, which can be viewed on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination