30 May 2012

Mecoptera ("scorpionflies")


A new group of insects for me.  And a very impressive-looking one - note the scorpion-like tail.  According to Myrmecos, "Mecoptera is an order of holometabolous insects containing a number of unusual taxa, including scorpionflies, hangingflies, and snow fleas."  And from Wikipedia this interesting, if obscure, bit of evolutionary trivia-
Mecoptera have special importance in evolution of Insecta. Two of the most important insect orders, Lepidoptera and Diptera, along with Trichoptera, probably evolved from ancestors belonging to, or strictly related to, the Mecoptera.
The Lepidoptera, of course, include the butterflies I like to blog.

Photo credit irenwulv, who saw the critter in Japan and posted it at Reddit.

4 comments:

  1. Maybe that one came with a meteorite. How cool is that. Wonder if those are around here in the Nevada desert for me to find.

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  2. that is a male scorpionfly in the genus Panorpa. The "claw" at the end of his abdomen looks formidable but he just uses it to grasp the female during mating.

    A friend of mine wrote about the Mourning Scorpionfly in this blogpost
    http://arthurevans.wordpress.com/2009/02/04/mourning-scorpionflies/

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