Common Name: Scorpionfly
Scientific Name: Panorpa nuptialis Gerst
Description: 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.
Literature: Borror et al. 1989; Swan & Papp 1972.