What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Colourful German scorpionfly?
Location:  Niedersachsen, Germany
October 15, 2010 12:52 pm
I found this insect on a sunny day, in a quiet, leafy rest area by a highway in northern Germany, at the start of June 2009.
The insect was fairly small, less than an inch long excluding the antennae. The beak makes me think it’s a female scorpionfly – but of course most scorpionfly photos are of the more interesting male, so I’d welcome confirmation. Is it a Panorpa communis?
I took two photos of it, and I’ve attached cropped versions of both. I’m sorry that the second one is so blurry, but it shows the shape of the head (that startling beak!) and abdomen quite clearly, and also shows the number of wings and how they’re patterned. I hope it’s good enough to let you make a positive ID.
Signature:  Abigail


Hi Abigail,
That is some red tailed Scorpionfly you have there in Germany.  That profile shot might not be as sharp as the posterior view, but it nicely illustrates the beak that is such an identifying feature of some Scorpionflies.  We will look up to see if we agree with your species identification,
Panorpa communis, of this German Scorpionfly, but first we have to write to Susan Lutz of Eat Sunday Dinner, or Something Like It blog fame to tell her what happened to The Amish Friendship Bread culture she left on Daniel’s desk this morning at LACC.

Scorpionfly: Is it Panorpa communis

Hi again Abigail,
We found some photos of
Panorpa communis on the NatureSpot website and it does very much resemble the individual in your photos, a female because she lacks the anal claspers that the male uses during mating.

Hi Daniel,
That’s great, thanks!  It took me so long to get to “scorpionfly” as a possible match (I started with lacewings and went through mutant craneflies, oversize mosquitoes and caddisflies before I found out that female scorpionflies lack the scorpionish tail) that I didn’t really trust my judgement any more. 🙂
It was a nice surprise to get such a quick response, too – I really wasn’t expecting that.  Thanks very much!
So, has your office been taken over by Amish Friendship Bread?

Hi Abigail,
We will eventually have an update on the Amish Friendship Bread on the
Eat Sunday Dinner, or Something Like It blog, but for now, the culture is just festering on the kitchen counter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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