Scorpionflies (Mecoptera)

Greek "meco" (long) + "ptera" (wings)
Scorpionflies get their name from the male's genitalia that curves up over the back and resembles a scorpion's tail. However, scorpionflies are harmless. Their heads are elongated and look like a beak or snout, with mouthparts at the tip. They have two pairs of wings, similar in size and shape. Scorpionfly larvae look like caterpillars, or like white grubs. Both adults and larvae eat decaying plants and insects and mostly live in moist forests.


click for enlargement
Scorpionfly
© 2004 Henk Wallays
click for enlargement
Wingless Hangingfly
© 2006 Joyce Gross
click for enlargement
Scorpionfly
© 2006 Joyce Gross

Quick ID

  • Elongated head, like a beak or snout
  • Abdomen resembles a scorpion's stinger

More information about Scorpionflies

University of California, Berkeley    Berkeley Natural History Museums
Copyright © 1995-2010 UC Regents. All Rights Reserved.
Last updated: Jan 3, 2017