Currently viewing the category: "Scorpionflies"
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snow bugs
Dec 10, 2010
December 10, 2010 11:37 am
I really tried to identify the 3 bugs on the snow I sent 12/1/10. At least I went thru your website and bugguide… I’m thinking you haven’t had much luck either. The one looks like a mini cranefly to me and I thought the other 2 were springtails, but they were solitary critters, and they are all wrong anyway! Any website suggestions I might peruse further? I can’t believe how addicted to bugs I’ve become since I found your website looking for an aquatic larvae! Never found the exact one, but I’m pretty sure it was some kind of beetle. Love your site and thanks for doing so much so well.
Signature: Cathy Schabloski

I wouldn’t be nekkid out here…
Location: Tonasket WA, near Canada
December 1, 2010 4:43 pm
Amazing what is out on the snow, and so very tiny and frail! I found 3 different kinds today. It’s about 32F now, and last week it was -12F. I think this one is a type of springtail, but had no luck with the other 2. I left them for you to crop as I feared loss of whatever resolution there is.
Signature: Cathy

Snow Scorpionfly

If I had wings, I’d fly south
Location: Tonasket WA near Canada
December 1, 2010 5:02 pm
Sorry, couldn’t find her, she’s about 2mm long. Why do I think she’s a she? I’ts 32F here and was -12F last week. Do I have no more sense than a bug? Actually, we both must love it here! And I know if this bug knew about your site it would love it as much as I do and be in awe of all you do. Thank you everyone that helps.
Signature: Cathy

Fungus Gnat

ovipositer? snow?
Location: Tonasket WA near Canada
December 1, 2010 5:21 pm
I’m just guessing here, maybe a type of springtail? only 2mm or so. Who would believe something this small at 32F and last week it was -12F. Where do the eggs/larvae/babies hang out until it gets warm(!) enough to come out and play? I saw 3 differnt kinds today. I am constantly amazed, both at the world around me and what y’all do out of the goodness of your hearts and the love of bugs.
Signature: Cathy

Snow Scorpionfly in the genus Bores

Dear Cathy,
We apologize profusely.  We wrote you back the day after you sent the three snow insects and we indicated we would research you insects and post them.  We forgot.  It is the end of the semester and work is piling up and we failed to deliver.  We can tell you that none of your insects are Springtails, be we still need to research them.  The one you believe to be a Crane Fly is some species of fly, and we believe it may be a Gnat.   At least we have posted your photos and as we research, we would gladly welcome any input our readership may provide.  You might want to post a comment to the posting and you will be notified in the future if any experts are able to provide any information.

Update and Correction: Snow Scorpionfly perhaps
Hi again Cathy,
We believe the insect with the ovipositor may be a Snow Scorpionfly in the genus
Boreus.  You can check the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website to compare the image of a female posted there.  BugGuide also has information on the Snow Scorpionflies in the genus Boreus including this description:  “Adults dark-colored with an elongated rostrum (“beak”), long antennae, vestigial wings, and long hind legs adapted to jumping; female has a straight ovipositor about the same length as the rostrum, and tapering to a point; males have a blunt rounded abdominal tip“.

Chen Young provides identifications
December 12, 2010
Good morning Daniel,
The two wingless images are not crane flies instead, they are Snow Scorpionflies in the genus Boreus, family Boreidae and order Mecoptera   I provided some short comparison in the crane fly website here for your informaiton   http://iz.carnegiemnh.org/cranefly/limoniinae.htm#Chionea
The fly with wings is a Fungus Gnat in the family Mycetophillidae.
Have a happy and safe holiday season.
Chen

Update
December 12, 2010
I had just come to the same conclusion about the scorpionflies, thanks to your recommended website. I wish I had had my camera today because I got to see the forked projections on the backside of the male, they can raise and fold them back down flat, and he has a sort of single “Mercury wing” coming off the back of his head. Thank you and Chen so much for your help.  Daniel, you certainly don’t need to apologize to me for being busy and forgetting a few things! Thank you again.
Cathy

Update:  Fungus Gnats can survive subzero conditions.
February 10, 2011
fungus gnat
February 10, 2011 7:58 pm
On 12/1/10 I asked you to identify what turned out to be a fungus gnat and male and female scorpion fly. I looked up the scorpionfly fly right away, probably because of the name… and found the heat of your hand can kill them! Well, I just looked up fungus gnat, and I don’t know if the one I read about is my exactr same one, but this tiny delicate thing can go to -60 and the abdomen freezes, but not the head! It will survive to -100. Here’s the website,http://alaskareport.com/news39/x71236_fungus_gnats.htm I’ve always liked bugs, but you and all your contributors have given me a new fascination for all of it! Thank you so very much.“
Signature: Cathy Schabloski

Thanks for the link and information Cathy.  This is fascinating.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scorpionfly in active hunting sequence

Hangingfly captures Bug

Scorpionfly in active hunting sequence
November 22, 2010
Location:  Australia
Hi Daniel,
Because of the file size and the hassles I am having with my net connection lately I thought I would email this sequence to you rather than try and use the form. Yesterday I spotted a male trying to wrestle a large moth free of its grip but by the time I got the camera the moth had escaped it. Today I found this one making strenuous efforts to get this true bug nymph free from its grip on a grass stem. It took a while but eventually it managed to pry all its feet loose and fly off with it. I didn’t realise they were active hunters as well as ambush predators.
Feel free to slice up the image or use it whole if you want.
regards,
Trevor

Hangingfly Captures Bug

Hi Trevor,
Thanks for your continued documentation of this Australian species of Scorpionfly, known as a Hangingfly, as it hunts and mates.  For size consideration, we did split up your montage, and six parts might have been preferable to three parts, but we were interested in the time constraint that would entail.  Clicking on the image will produce an enlarged version.

Hangingfly Captures Bug

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scorpionfly mating sequence

Hangingfly with Fly Prey

Scorpionfly mating sequence
November 16, 2010
Location:  Australia
Hi Daniel,
Hope you like this sequence.
The male had to wait for less than a minute with his robberfly for a female to arrive. When she did, he started to make what we would call beckoning motions, by repeatedly curling and uncurling one rear claw. All the time he slowly moved his abdomen into position for mating. When he locked with her she immediately let go of the grass and started to thrash around, at which time he passed her the fly and she settled in to dine while he went about his business. After mating her grabbed the fly back and took off, probably to use it for his next conquest, the cad.
regards,
Trevor

Hangingflies Courting

Hi Trevor,
This series is phenomenal, and your firsthand observations are priceless.

Hangingflies Mating

We wonder if there are other observational accounts of the male absconding with his nuptial gift after getting his way.

Hangingflies Mating

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scorpionfly mating ritual
Hi Daniel,
after sending of the last email I got to thinking whether the image may still be in a sent mail folder, guess what, I found it.
So attached is the full frame just resized down 50% so you can crop as desired.
regards,
Trevor

Hangingflies: Mating Ritual

Hi again Trevor,
Thank you so much for contributing this wonderful image to our site.  The male Scorpionfly in the family Bittacidae, the Hangingflies, often present the females with a nuptial gift of a captured insect to entice her into mating.  The male Hangingfly in your photograph has such a gift.  Again, thanks so much for responding to our earlier request and for contributing so many wonderful images of Australian Hangingflies to our site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scorpionfly in Ambush Position
Location: North Burnett. Queensland. Australia
November 12, 2010 10:50 pm
Hi guys,
Thought you may like this Scorpionfly, in the family Bittacidae, hanging in the ambush position. Any insect flying into the strike zone is not coming out again.
In this shot it is easy to see the large claw which it uses to capture and grip prey. It hangs from grass stems and waits for unsuspecting insects to fly near and then grabs them with its claws. They are the only insect to use this method to capture prey.
The name come from the habit of the male curling the abdomen like a scorpion. They are not true flies however as they have four wings.
Signature: aussietrev

Scorpionfly AKA Hangingfly

Hi Trevor,
In North American, Scorpionflies in the Family Bittacidae are known as Hangingflies and we have a few photos in our archives and there are numerous images on BugGuide, but none can compare to your image that so superbly illustrates the threat that awaits any hapless flying insects that flutters into the path of this unusual predator.  According to BugGuide, they:  “Hang by front and middle legs from low plants, and use hind legs to capture passing prey.
”  Upon tying to find a link to an Australian species, we found your awesome photograph gracing the Insects of Brisbane website page on Scorpionflies, and we noticed the name Hanging Fly used.  The typical North American rule of thumb for common insect names is to create a compound word with fly for flying insects that are not true flies, like Dobsonfly or Butterfly, and to indicate the name with two words for true flies like Crane Fly or Deer Fly.  There are exceptions like Gadfly which is sometimes used for a Horse Fly.  The photo you have posted on the Insects of Brisbane website documents the unusual mating behavior where the male attracts the female by presenting her with a nuptial gift of food.  Dare we be so bold as to say what a lovely addition that image would be to our Bug Love page?

Hi Daniel,
Unfortunately the image on Peter’s site was lost in a hard drive crash. Feel free to copy the image from Peter’s page if you wish or you may be able to email him and see if he still has the higher resolution original that I sent him. If I get a chance of another mating ritual shot I’ll send it through to you.
regards,
Trevor

Ed. Note: Trevor quickly located the lost image and forwarded it so that we could make it a unique post.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scorpionfly
Location: Austin, TX
October 31, 2010 1:36 pm
Hi, thought you’d like this picture I took of a male scorpionfly on the rock wall of our house (Austin, TX, on 10/27/10). It was about 1-1.5 inches long. I didn’t know what it was until I found it on your site.
Signature: Lauren

Scorpionfly

Hi Lauren,
Your photo clearly illustrates why harmless creatures in the family Panorpidae are commonly called Scorpionflies

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination