Male Chionea valga individual (Copyright © 2015 Laura Hughes)

Chionea are flightless flies that are commonly observed running on the surface of the snow — hence their common name “snow fly.” Snow flies are closely related to crane flies, the large, spindly flies that hang around porch lights on summer evenings. Chionea are extremely cold hardy. We have observed them out running in temperatures as low as -17°C (0°F)!

We need your help collecting snow flies so that we can study how the brains and muscles of these extraordinary creatures are adapted for life below freezing. The individuals that you collect will also help us learn more about their distribution and ecology.

Snow flies can be found in snowy places throughout the northern hemisphere. We have received specimens collected from Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, and Vermont, as well as across the border in Canada.

Collecting snow flies is simple. Just follow these collection instructions.

Please take a picture or video to share with us on social media (@snowflyproject)!