Friday, 19 June 2015

Day 228 - Sensational Scorpion Fly

Rawcliffe Ings bursting with flowers
Hey everyone, it's Day 228 and I found another fly to look at from my day at Rawcliffe Ings. I thought I'd start off though with a picture of the meadows there as they were looking really wonderful while I was there, absolutely bursting with flowers!

So, while I was out looking for the Tansy Beetle I saw quite a few insects and plants that were of interest. I saw the Sawfly I covered a few days ago fo the first time though it was too quick for me to get photos of and I had to wait for another calmer one in my local forest to get the photos I used.

This little chap, though, was quite still for enough for me to get a few shots before it took off. I'm looking today at the Scorpion Fly! Well, at least I think it is. Looking at its wing patterns it looks closet to this from my research but there are three types that are quite hard to tell apart but I'm going to cover the Scorpion Fly (Panorpa communis).

Scorpion Fly (Panorpa communis)
So, what did I find out about them:

  • They are seen from May through to September and are distributed across most of England, Wales and Central and Southern Scotland.
  • It likes a variety of habitats including Farmland, Grassland, Heathland, Gardens, Uplands and Woodlands.
  • They particularly like nettles and brambles but this one was sharing the Tansy plants with the Tansy Beetles.
  • They get their name from a scorpion like tail on the males, which they use in courtship displays. 
    The same fly from behind
  •  Despite it looking like a scorpion it does not sting!
  • The adults mate at night and the male will present the female with a gift of a drop of saliva or dead insect, if he doesn't he might get eaten by the female!
  • Once they have mated the female lays her eggs in the soil where they hatch. The larvae live and pupate in the soil
  • The adult's diet is mainly dead insects. It has a long beak like structure on its head with its jaws at the end. They will often steal the contents of spiders webs!
    And from above.
  • They are 14-20mm long.
  • They belong to an ancient group of insects more than 250 million years old, the 'Mecopterans'. It is thought butterflies and lots of other species evolved from this group of insects.
Well, quite an interesting insect to find. If you want to find out more try these links:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing find Zach - I've never one myself so I loved reading about them and seeing your photos! - Tasha