Currently viewing the category: "Scorpionflies"
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ODD FLYING INSECT
Location: Bristol Texas
October 23, 2010 10:08 pm
I found a bug, that has a large snout with burs on the end, 4 black and yellow striped wings, a red abdomen that is very narrow with pinchers at the end of it, that it curls up and when threatened, sends it up over it wings past its head. the wings are seperate from each other, but in rest the wings lay on top of each other so it looks like there are only two. i don’t have a good picture, but I could send one to a direct email. Thak you for your help, nobody I’ve asked can identify it.
Signature: Jennifer Moffitt

Scorpionfly

Hi Jennifer,
Despite its name and appearance, the Scorpionfly is a perfectly harmless creature.

Scorpionfly

Hmmm. Thank you. What a perfectly fitting name.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Colourful German scorpionfly?
Location:  Niedersachsen, Germany
October 15, 2010 12:52 pm
Hello,
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.
Thanks,
Signature:  Abigail

Scorpionfly

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?
Abigail.

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

Are these Crane Flies?

Insect Collection

Are these Crane Flies?
Location:  Wilmington, Delaware
October 3, 2010 12:53 pm
We are doing a bug project in fith grade. My school is The Independence School in Delaware. I’ve been collecting insects in the past 4 months. I have these 3 flies that look almost the same. I know the one at the right bottom is a Crane Fly. The other two I could not identify in the bug guide. The top one has 1 pair of wings and the abdomen/tail ends with a bulb. The bottom left fly has two pairs of wings and a skiny abdomen. The eyes are bigger and it looks more like a Dragonfly or a Damselfly, but the legs are very long. Can you please help me? Thanks
Signature:  Austin

Hangingfly

Dear Austin,
First we want to congratulate you on doing your research well for your science project.  We will respond to the easier of your two queries first.  The Crane Fly with the bulb shaped abdomen is actually a male.  Females have pointier abdomens.  An excellent resource for information on Crane Flies is the Crane Flies of Pennsylvania website.  The Morphology page of the site indicates this:  “Abdomen is long and slender and with nine evident segments.  The apex of abdomen in male enlarged into a club-shaped hypopygium, in female extended into elongate, acutely pointed ovipositor.  They can be sexed visually in the field by these two characters.
The bigger mystery is the extra pair of wings.  We don’t know if this is a genetic mutation or something else entirely, but if it is a mutation, we suspect some museum would love to have your specimen.  We are going to contact Dr. Chen Young, and expert in Crane Flies, but a few days ago we got an “out of office” reply to an email indicating that he is collecting in the field.  It appears that you have three Crane Flies and one is an aberration.  Identifying the exact species of Crane Flies is a real challenge and we do not feel confident enough to attempt anything conclusive.  With that said, the individual on the right of your photo showing all three might be Tipula paterifera, based on a comparison to photos posted to BugGuide.  We hope Dr. Young gets back to us soon to solve the other mystery.

Crane Fly male

CORRECTION:  Thanks to Eric Eaton
Daniel:
Not a crane fly.  This is a “hangingfly,” a type of scorpionfly in the order Mecoptera, family Bittacidae:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/9232
Neat find!
Eric

Thanks so much Eric.  We feel a bit embarrassed at this moment because the thought of a Scorpionfly did run through our mind, yet we didn’t research that before posting.

Dr. Chen Young provides some identifications
October 5, 2010
Hi Daniel,
This bug is not a trur fly it is a hangingfly in the family Bittacidae of the order Mecoptera.  It does look like a crane fly except it has four wings.
Chen

Thanks Chen,
I have already learned about this embarrassing misidentification.
Thanks
Daniel

Hi Daniel,
Hey we all make misidentifications and mistakes.
The two crane flies in his project are:  the male is Tipula borealis
http://iz.carnegiemnh.org/cranefly/tipulinae.htm#Tipula_(Beringotipula)_borealis
and the female is Tipula oleraceae, one of the two introduced european crane flies.
http://iz.carnegiemnh.org/cranefly/tipulinae.htm#Tipula_(Tipula)_paludosa
I have already forwarded my answer to your mating crane flies from India to you.  Let me know when you get it.
Chen

Update from Austin
October 8, 2010
Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for your help.  My project is to collect 10 insects and identify them.  My teacher gave us 8 orders to find and pin. We are allowed to find two from the same order.  Now, this would be the 9th order not on her list.  I am glad that I found an order that is not on her list.  I will send you a picture of my project when I am done.  It is due on Oct 18, 2010.
I like your web site.  It helped me a lot on my insect project.  I could not identify some of the insects until Mrs. Godsey told us about your web site.  The first time I logged into your site, one of the insects was your bug of the month for September.  It was the Stump Stabber, Giant Ichneumon.  I found it during my summer vacation in Canada.  I could not identify it for a long time before then.  I was so excited when there it was on your front page.  Then I saw a leaf footed bug picture someone had send you a question.   And there it was again look just like one of my insect.
Thank you and have a great weekend.
Austin

Dear Austin,
We are happy that you and your teacher, and hopefully your entire class, has found our website helpful.  It is our mission to try to share a sense of wonder with the lower beasts and to educate the public regarding the important place these bugs fill in the intricate web of life that occupies our fragile planet.  It is also refreshing to hear from such an industrious student since we get so many desperate requests to do people’s homework when they realize that they have procrastinated on their entomology collection projects.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scorpionfly from Australia – Accomplished Hunters
Sat, Mar 21, 2009 at 6:38 PM
Hi again,
I took these shots of our local scorpionfly. Unlike other versions ours is an accomplished hunter of live prey. Check out those talon like hind legs. The assassin and related bugs such as the pod sucking bug (Riptortus serripes) seem to be a favoured target.
aussietrev
Queensland, Australia

Scorpionfly or Hanging Fly

Scorpionfly or Hanging Fly

Hi Trevor,
Thanks so much for sending and identifying this unusual looking Scorpionfly and its prey. According to the Brisbane Insect Website, there is only one species of Scorpionfly from the order Mecoptera in Australia. It is Harpobittacus tillyardi in the family Bittacidae, and it is sometimes called a Hanging Fly.

Scorpionfly captures Pod Sucking Bug

Scorpionfly captures Pod Sucking Bug

The detail photo of the Pod Sucking Bug is a nice addition. According to the Brisbane Insect Website, the Pod Sucking Bug, Riptortus serripes, is a Broad Headed Bug in the family Alydidae. Immature Pod Sucking Bugs are ant mimics.  Now that spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and our weather is warming, our southern readers in the U.S. are starting to send letters our way.  Mail volume is increasing and we had to go back a few days to post your wonderful submission.  More and more mail will go unanswered as the volume continues to increase.

Pod Sucking Bug captured by Scorpionfly

Pod Sucking Bug captured by Scorpionfly

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Please help !
Hi there.
I have been looking at picture of bugs and flies all over the internet for hours and I can’t seem to find anything that looks like the one I found, (see attached) I found it on my living room window in Munster Germany (Mid August). it was about 15 mm in length, with a red-ish colour. I was wondering if you could help identify it for me as I have small children and am worried that they might bite. Thank you.
Mrs Dwyer, Munster, Germany

Hi Mrs Dwyer,
Despite its name and appearance, the Scorpionfly is perfectly harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

scorpion fly?
found in my garden today not flying very far at a time,on a very hot sunny day in north Norfolk england 27/7/2008 , i had never see anything like it before, then i came across your web site. so thats what it is? keep up the good work .add it to your picture list thanks
colin

hi Colin,
Your identification of a Scorpionfly is correct. Our only correction is in your spelling of the name. If the components scorpion and fly are separate, it implies a true fly in the order Diptera as opposed to the joining of the two words, similar to dragonfly or butterfly. Scorpionflies are in the order Mecoptera.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination