Scorpionfly from France

Subject: BUG ID
Location: south of france
June 16, 2014 12:18 pm
Hello Bugman,
Please find attached a picture of a bug I took today – in the South of France. I think it might be a scorpion fly but am not sure…could you help to confirm its ID please?
Signature: Budding bugster


Dear Budding bugster,
This is indeed a Scorpionfly in the order Mecoptera, and it looks very similar to this individual from France posted to FlickR.  So many Scorpionflies look so very similar that we would not even attempt to identify this beyond the general order classification.  BugGuide, though it is devoted to North American insects, provides this interesting information:  “Mating behavior: the male offers some kind of food (a dead insect or a piece of a brown salivary secretion that becomes gelatinous as it dries) and emits a pheromone (an air-borne chemical signal) from vesicles within the abdominal segment 9. A female is attracted to the pheromone or the food, whereupon the male grasps the end of her abdomen with the claw-like genital appendages (dististyles) and clamps the front edge of one of the female’s forewings in a structure on the mid-dorsal part of his abdominal segments 3 and 4 (the notal organ). Mating then takes place as the female feeds.  Adults may emit an unpleasant odor when molested.”

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