Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas A&M University System
Department of Entomology, Texas A&M University

Order Mecoptera


Scorpionflies are harmless, but are so named because some of the males have the end of the abdomen enlarged which makes it look like the stinger of a scorpion.

Mecoptera are small to medium-sized insects with four long, narrow wings and long antennae. They have chewing mouthparts located at the end of a broad, flat snout; which is two or three times as long as the head is wide. The larvae are like caterpillars and live in damp soil. They feed on organic matter and are seldom seen.

Scorpionflies are not common. Scorpionflies are usually found only during a two or three week period in the summer. These insects are found resting on plants that grow along the banks of streams and in damp woods. The adults are attracted to lights on occasion. Adults feed on insects, usually after they are dead. Some species capture live insects.

Metamorphosis is complete. Larvae are about 1/2 inch long but the adults are a little larger with the spindly legs and long wings.

Insects in this order: scorpionfly

Scorpionfly, Panorpa nuptialis Gerst.  Photo by Drees.
Click on image to enlarge
Panorpa nuptialis Gerst
(Mecoptera: Panorpidae),
Photo by Drees.

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.
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University •  Department of Entomology  •  412 Heep Center, TAMU 2475
College Station, TX 77843-2475 • 979.845.2516
Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University