Insect logo



Home Who We Are List of Orders References Contact Us


*** Note: KnowYourInsects.org does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It's always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Mecoptera: the scorpionflies, hangingflies and allies — Examples
Scorpionfly
Scorpionfly, male, likely Panorpa helena, family Panorpidae (the scorpionflies).
□ The male scorpionfly is distinguished from the female by his reproductive structure, seen in this photo at the rear of the abdomen (visible as the reddish “bead” between the wings). To see the variety of scorpionflies in Ohio, along with their wing patterns, click here.
Photographed and identified to order by: Kelly McKinne (@gonzonaturalist). Identified to genus by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Black Swamp Bird Observatory, northwestern Ohio, USA. Date: 11 October, 2015.
Scorpionfly
Common scorpionfly, male, Panorpa communis, family Panorpidae (the scorpionflies).
□ The male scorpionfly curls up the tip of his abdomen in a fashion similar to a scorpion (as shown here), and this is where they get the common name of scorpionfly. Although the abdomen resembles a scorpion’s stinger, there is no sting in the tip of the male’s tail.
Photographed by: Volker Arndt. Once it was identified to order by KnowYourInsects.org, Volker Arndt got to work and identified it to species :-) Location: Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Date: 16 June, 2017. Volker says, “The German main-word is called „Schnabelfliege“ (Mecoptera) and the specified word is „Skorpionsfliege“ (Panorpidae).” KnowYourInsects says, „Danke, Volker“!
Scorpionfly
Common scorpionfly, male, Panorpa communis, family Panorpidae (the scorpionflies).
Photographed by: Volker Arndt. Identified to species by: Volker Arndt. Location: Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Date: 16 June, 2017.
Volker says, “In the German Wikipedia, it is written that (sometimes) these insects would steal flies and bees out from spider’s net. It is mentioned, that a scorpionfly would be able to walk inside the net without being attacked by the spider.”
Scorpionfly, Panorpa spp.
Common scorpionfly in the genus Panorpa, perhaps the common scorpionfly, Panorpa communis, family Panorpidae (the scorpionflies).
□ Three species of scorpionflies within the Panorpa genus are present in England, where this photo was taken. According to NatureSpot.org, it takes a “close examination with a microscope or good hand lens” to tell them apart.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 29 July, 2018.
Scorpionfly, Panorpa spp.
Scorpionfly in the genus Panorpa, perhaps the common scorpionfly, Panorpa communis, family Panorpidae (the scorpionflies).
□ See the comment below to see the photographer’s take on this scorpionfly.
Photographed and identified by: Bryan Wenham-Baker. Location: Ivybridge, South Hams, South Devon, England, UK. Date: 11 May, 2019.
“I think this might be another scorpionfly. But this one is waving to you, Leslie!” Leslie at KnowYourInsects.org says, “Please give it a wave back from me if you see it again. This is one of the insect groups that I rarely see myself in the wild. Such a cool critter!”
Add your photo here!
Scorpionfly, Panorpa spp.
Scorpionfly in the genus Panorpa, family Panorpidae (the scorpionflies).
□ The photographer described this female scorpionfly: “It has a large proboscis or nose, and in total length is 1 cm with yellow and brown wings. The body is principally yellow but also has brown spots.”
Photographed by: Haydn Deane. Identified by: KnowYourInsects.org. Location: Romania. Date: 18 July, 2020.
Add your photo here!


HomeWho We Are List of Orders References Contact Us

Unless noted otherwise, photographs on this website are the property of the photographers and may not be reused without written permission from the photographers. To obtain permission, request it here.

Photos at the top of this website are (from left to right): potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) — photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture; ebony jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)— photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; sweat bee (Agapostemon splendens) — photo credit: Natalie Allen and Stephanie Kolski, U.S. Geological Survey; preying mantis, monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus), hellgrammite (aka toe biter) larva and eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) — photo credit: Leslie Mertz; Halloween pennant (Celithemis eponina) — photo credit: Kay Meng, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Reproduction of material from any KnowYourInsects.org webpages without written permission is strictly prohibited.