Panorpa communis

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Panorpa communis
Panorpa communis with prey Diogma glabrata glabrata.jpg
P. communis male with prey
Panorpa communis 2006-07-11.jpg
P. communis female
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mecoptera
Family: Panorpidae
Genus: Panorpa
P. communis
Binomial name
Panorpa communis

Panorpa communis, the common scorpionfly,[1] is a species of scorpionfly.


This species is native to Europe (mostly) and Northern Asia.[2][3][4]


These scorpionflies can be usually found in hedgerows and patches of nettle.[5]


Female, dorsal view

Panorpa communis can reach a body length of about 30 millimetres (1.2 in).[5] The common scorpionfly has a black and yellow body, with a reddish head and tail. The male has a pair of claspers at the end of its tail (for holding the female during mating),[5] giving it a scorpion-like appearance,[5] although it is not a stinger.

The adult insect has a wingspan of about 35 millimetres (1.4 in),[5] with wings that are mostly clear, but have many dark spots or patches. Its head, mounted with large eyes, is drawn into a prominent, downward pointing beak,[5] which opens at the tip of its head.

In the female, the eighth abdominal segment is the shortest, almost twice shorter than the seventh; the sixth is narrowed towards the back.[6] The larva resembles a caterpillar and grows up to 20 millimetres (0.79 in) long. It has three pairs of thoracic legs and eight pairs of prolegs.[7]

Biology and habits[edit]

The adult is seen between May and September.[5] They eat dead insects (although they sometimes eat live aphids), sometimes taking them from spider webs[5] and plant sap.[8]

Although fully winged, the adults rarely fly very far and spend much of their time crawling on vegetation in damp, shaded places near water and along hedgerows. Panorpa communis is a univoltine species.[5] Eggs are laid in soil annually and the larvae both scavenge and pupate there.[5]



  1. ^ in Kendall Bioresearch
  2. ^ Fauna europaea
  3. ^ Catalogue of life
  4. ^ Range at GBIF
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j UK Safari
  6. ^ F. C. Fraser: Handbooks for the identification of British Insects. Vol. I. part 12 and 13. Mecoptera, Megaloptera, Neuroptera. London: Royal Entomological Society of London, 1959, s. 8–10
  7. ^ Strange animals
  8. ^ "food" in

External links[edit]