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UK Nature  > Flies  > Panorpa communis

Scientific Name:   Panorpa communis
Common Name:   Scorpion Fly

Panorpa communis, more commonly known as the Scorpion Fly, has a wingspan of approximately 35mm, and is found throughout the UK. On the wing between between May and September, they are normally found in hedgerows and nettle beds. Their diet consists mostly of dead insects, which they frequently steal from the webs of spiders.

Scorpion flies belong to an ancient group of insects known as 'mecopterans' which can be traced back more than 250 million years. Many people believe that butterflies and many other species of insect evolved from their ancestors. Their heads are extended into a beak-like shape, and their tiny jaws are situated at the end.

Their common name derives from the end of the male's abdomen, which curls over, resembling that of a scorpion. Despite the appearance, they are perfectly harmless, and don't sting. The tip of the tail has a pair of claspers which he uses when mating with the female.
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