Bug of the Week

Scorpionfly (Family Panorpidae)

Howdy BugFans,

The scorpionfly belongs in the small order Mecoptera, and not with the true flies, Diptera. Mecoptera includes a fairly bizarre collection of families – Hangingflies (crane-fly look-alikes that prey on crane flies), Snow Scorpionflies (that look like springtails), Scorpionflies and Earwigflies. Mother Nature does, indeed, have a sense of humor!

A scorpionfly resting on a leaf.
A scorpionfly resting on a leaf.

Mecopterans are considered closely related to fleas, and some entomologists believe that extinct Scorpionfly ancestors are common ancestors of fleas, flies, butterflies and moths – quite a heritage for an odd and unassuming little insect.

They have two pairs of wings but are weak flyers. The males of only one family have the scorpion-like tail appendages that give the whole order its name. Despite their startling appearance, scorpionflies do not sting or bite, and, in fact, they are seldom seen. They feed on ripe fruit, nectar and dead and dying insects, and they serve as food for a variety of flying and creeping invertebrates.

Very Goth.

The Bug Lady