Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University
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Scorpionfly, Panorpa nuptialis Gerst.  Photo by Drees.
Click on image to enlarge
Panorpa nuptialis Gerst
(Mecoptera: Panorpidae),
Photo by Drees.

Common Name: Scorpionfly
Scientific Name: Panorpa nuptialis Gerst
Order: Mecoptera

These unusual insects have four similar long, narrow, membranous yellow wings with dark brown marking banded patterns. The head bears long, thread-like antennae and the mouthparts are at the end of an elongated "snout." The body is up to 1 inch long. Males have abdomens with an elongated end that resembles that of a scorpion.

Life Cycle: Complex metamorphosis. Winter is spent in the last larvae stage. They pupate in cells in the soil before emerging as adults. Eggs deposited in the soil. Larvae are caterpillar-like in appearance and live on the soil surface. One generation occurs per year.

Habitat and Food Source(s): Mouthparts are for chewing. Scorpionflies occur in wooded areas and ravines with dense vegetation. Adults feed on mainly dead insects and larvae feed on dead insects, other animal matter and may be predaceous. Courtship behavior involved males vibrating their wings rapidly in front of the female and presenting her with small pellets of saliva which the females eat.

Pest Status: Locally common in the fall in marshy areas; medically harmless.


For additional information, contact your local Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent or search for other state Extension offices.

Literature: Borror et al. 1989; Swan & Papp 1972.

From the book:
Field Guide to Texas Insects,
Drees, B.M. and John Jackman,
Copyright 1999
Gulf Publishing Company,
Houston, Texas

A Field Guide to Common Texas Insects, Bastiaan M. Drees and John A. Jackman.


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