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For educational purposes:--

Information on the basics of Entomology


Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Contents


Entomology:  MECOPTERA 1

Kingdom:  Animalia, Phylum: Arthropoda

Subphylum: Hexapoda: Class: Insecta: Order: Mecoptera



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Pteragota:  Holometabola

  Order:  Mecoptera (13 Families)

    General Summary

    Morphology & Habits

    Families of Mecoptera


  Sample Examinations


  References      Citations


General Summary of Mecoptera


          Mecoptera -- <Adults> &  <Juveniles> -- are the "scorpion flies" a small order of insects that may be recognized by their vertically directed and elongated head capsule that has the biting mouthparts at its end.  DNA evidence shows a close relationship to the Siphonaptera (fleas). They have two pairs of similar wings with simple venation in which a number of cross veins divide the whole area into a number of almost equal rhomboidal cells.  Metamorphosis is complete.

          The male genitalis are prominent and the terminal segments of the abdomen carry them in a dorsally curved position in the way of the scorpion's tail.  The eruciform larvae are caterpillar-like and may possess prolegs on all segments of the abdomen.  This together with the presence of a large number of ocelli on the head (20 or more) distinguishes the larvae from the Lepidoptera.

          Panorpa communis, the common European scorpion fly, lays eggs in crevices in the soil and the larvae hatching from these feed on decaying organic matter. Pupation occurs in an earthen cell and the life cycle is an annual one. Much information is still wanting on the life histories of the members of this order ((
Borradaile & Potts, 1958).




Morphology & Habits


          The head is elongated and held in a vertical position.  The clypeus is also elongated.  Wing venation is more prominent in a definite section of the wing, which is of rhomboid shape.



          The abdomen is cured in the male and held as a scorpion's sting, from which the name "scorpion fly" is derived.


          The larvae are eruciform and there are about 2 ocelli on either side of the head.   Adults have the characteristic habit of hanging, but they are not very strong fliers.




Families of Mecoptera


          Five common families of Mecoptera are distinguished according to their shapes and habits as follows (see Borror et al. 1989 for details):


          Boreidae. -- Snow scorpion flies occur in moss and on snow in winter.


          Meropeidae. -- Earwig flies are so named because the male has a pair of long forceps like claspers at the apex of the abdomen.


          Panorpidae. -- Common scorpion flies.


          Panorpodidae. -- Short faced scorpion flies.


          Bittacidae. -- Hanging scorpion flies.



Details of Insect Taxonomic Groups


          Examples of beneficial species occur in almost every insect order, and considerable information on morphology and habits has been assembled.  Therefore, the principal groups of insect parasitoids and predators provide details that refer to the entire class Insecta.  These details are available at <taxnames.htm>.







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