30 Interesting Scorpion Fly Fact

by Sankalan Baidya
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When we say Scorpion fly facts, we are not referring to a scorpion that can fly. We are actually referring to a fly – an insect that looks like scorpion. We agree that sounds weird but this earth is full of weird creatures and humans are by far the weirdest of all. Why so? Because they are the only creatures on this planet that are hell-bent on destroying this planet. Anyway, instead of deviating from our topic, let us get back on track and learn 30 interesting scorpion fly facts – one of the weirdest (by looks) insects you can find on earth.

Interesting Scorpion Fly Facts: 1-10

1. The scorpion fly is a small to medium-sized insect with a very terrifying look. However, it is not really harmful, at least to humans.

2. The unusual name of the insect comes from the male members of a specific family of scorpion flies known as the Panorpidae. The male members are known to often known to keep their abdomen raised in a way which resembles the stinging tail of scorpions.

3. It is quite normal for people to confuse scorpion flies with crane flies or giant mosquitoes.

4. These insects are known to have two wings pairs but still they are known for their flimsy and erratic flying pattern.

5. The flight speed of the scorpion fly is about 0.5 meters per second and they have a wing beat of 28 beats per second.

6. These flies are known for having large eyes and their heads are prolonged into a beak-like structure and are known for having biting mouth parts right at the tip of the beak-like structure.

7. The four wings of the fly is are known to be of almost same length and are membranous. However, there are some species that are known to have no wings at all.

8. The wings may have different looks. Some scorpion flies may have almost transparent wings. Some may have dark banded wings while some other may have dark spotted wings.

9. They also have a pair of antennae that look like threads and have multiple segments.

10. Coming back to the looks of the scorpion fly, the males are known to be enlarged with a rounded appearance and it curves back over on its back, giving it the scorpion-like look.

Interesting Scorpion Fly Facts: 11-20

11. The scorpion-like look of the fly leads us into thinking that it is aggressive and can attack. However, that curved structure is not an offensive organ.

12. The curved up organ is used by the males for holding the female flies during mating.

13. Scorpion flies are very unique, which is why experts have actually assigned them a completely different taxonomic order known as Mecoptera.

14. Most of the Mecopterans come from two most popular families known as Panorpidae and Bittacidae.

15. Panorpidae literally means ‘true scorpion flies’ while the term Bittacidae means ‘hanging scorpion flies’.

16. The Mecopterans can belong to three other families which are not very popular. They are Panorpodidae, Meropeidae and Boreidae. These three families include 14 different species from North America but they are pretty rare.

17. What makes the Panorpidae and Bittacidae different are their appearances. While Panorpidae are known to have this characteristic scorpion-like look but the Bittacidae on the other hand are known to lack the scorpion tail.

18. Yet another important difference between Panorpidae and Bittacidae is that for most of their life Panorpidae are scavengers while Bittacidae are known to be hunters.

19. Panorpidae scorpion flies (adults as well as larvae) are known for scavenging on dead insects and animals. However, they can become herbivores too, feeding on nectar, fruit, pollen and mosses.

20. Bittacidae scorpion flies have 2nd and 3rd pair of legs modified raptorial legs. These legs are meant for grabbing prey.

Interesting Scorpion Fly Facts: 21-30

21. Since the 2nd and 3rd pair of legs are way too longer than the 1st leg pair, the Bittacids are incapable of standing properly.

22. They will usually hang using their first pair of legs and then used their longer legs to grab the prey that pass below them. This explains why they have the name “hanging scorpion flies”.

23. Bittacids usually capture flies, moths, spiders and other insects that have soft bodies.

24. Scorpion flies are usually known for preferring moist and cool places. However, they can also be often found in marshy areas.

25. Scorpion flies are known for laying eggs in small clusters usually in soil but they can also select low vegetation and leaf litter for laying eggs.

26. The eggs hatch into larvae that look pretty much like caterpillars. The larvae can be found on the feeding surface but if they are not feeding, they will be found in shallow burrows that the adults dug in soil.

27. Just under the soil is an elongated cell which is where the larvae pupate. Adults hatch either in spring or autumn depend upon the species.

28. The most interesting of scorpion fly facts is that the males attract the females by making food offering. The females will select the males depending on what gift is offered.

29. Many experts believe that the food offered to the females help with the development of the eggs.

30. The oldest known fossil of the Scorpion fly dates back to 250 million years from now, which is why, this insect is often known as the living fossil. As of today, there are over 600 different species of scorpion flies all over the world.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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3 comments

Larry Bohannon February 15, 2020 - 9:16 pm

That is nonsense about humans being the only creature hell-bent on destroying our planet. Every species affects the environment around them even at a micro level. Humans do this too. But we are not destroying our planet. The small amount of CO2 that is released by human activities (as compared to the total in the atmosphere) is not destroying our planet. Shame on all the Chicken Littles for scaring our children.

Reply
Sankalan Baidya
Sankalan Baidya February 15, 2020 - 9:27 pm

Oh hello, Chicken Massive!! Hello, do you hear us? Don’t pygmy your thoughts to carbon dioxide only. Do you want a proper argument? Come let’s play!

Reply
Ziemael June 26, 2020 - 9:32 pm

To elaborate on the carbon dioxide. We are by definition, an invasive species. Invasive species, of course, destroy the local ecosystems around them until a new balance is reached. By starting off with an absolute, such as the term, only, in reference to human species destroying the planet, makes us sound exceptional, paining a picture that we are destructive by intent rather than just is what happens when a species does very well very quickly. In a more moderated Occam’s razor sense, one could disprove that the destruction is simply because we affect many ecosystems at once due to the speed of our most successful migrations/invasion, the sum of all our activities required to keep growth going, versus a specific activity, or set of activities for that matter. This already has a precedent, as any invasive species that spread to the whole planet at such a pace would irrevocably alter the landscape and cause havoc until a natural balance is restored. For example, fossil evidence supporting the rise of oxygen producing plants obliterating oxygen intolerant species and transforming the entire atmosphere (one we still are stuck with today), and would die without (thus now balanced), resulting in a die off so profound it pales the last 500 millions years combined. Most educated folks believe plants still hold the mantle for most destructive creatures on earth, by far. Now here we are, with a well established army of Herbivores evolved to be natural oxygen controls, simultaneously returning oxygen to a C02 as they devoured the scourge of plants literally covering the entire planet. Coming back to humans piggybacking on the success of plants and herbivores. Without a naturally occurring balance, (and it will come) sanctions on human activity are laughably futile. Many will die until the balance is restored, and it is sad to contemplate, but the insistence that a carbon tax and other measures will beat mother natures inevitable reaction is not mere popular folly in thought, but a social delusion being used as an excuse to exercise control by those who seek it. Which, contrary to natural balance, a very intentional and myopic action.

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