Scorpion fly

The scorpion fly is well-named, as it has a curved ‘tail’ that resembles a scorpion’s sting. It’s actually used by the male to clasp the female when mating. It has a striking yellow and black body, and a long ‘beak’ that it uses to feed on dead insects. It can grow up to 3 cm (just over one inch).

Scorpion fly
Scorpion fly (Panorpa communis)

Scorpion flies are found in gardens and hedgerows, along woodland edges, and have a particular fondness for brambles and stinging nettles.

Mating can be a dangerous activity for the male, who risks being attacked and killed by the female. The male thus presents her with a nuptial gift of a dead insect in the hope that she is distracted or placated. The female lays her eggs in the soil.

Scorpion flies belong to an ancient order of insects known as Mecoptera, which can be traced back to the Permian period, more than 250 million years ago, They are likely ancestors of butterflies and flies.

28 comments

    • Goodness that’s a close-up Steve! I think this must have been used as a model for some sci-fi movies, looks like a good alien lifeform!

      Like

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