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Mecoptera Overview

Order Mecoptera includes scorpionflies and hangingflies.  They are found throughout most of the world.  They are not found on many islands, for instance, no Mecoptera are known to be in Madagascar.  Scorpionflies get their name from their enlarged cercus, which curves upward at the end of their tail.  This characteristic mostly applies to the family Panorpidae, but has determined the common name of all the families.   Despite the association with scorpions, Mecoptera are all quite harmless and do not sting.  Hangingflies get their name from their mating ritual.  The female hangs upside down, while the male holds her with his tarsi.  Mecoptera undergo complete metamorphosis.  The eggs are oviposited in leaf litter or soil.  The larvae resemble either caterpillars or grubs.  The pupal stage includes folded wings and, depending on the family, can range from ten to forty days.  The adults have an eleven-segmented abdomen.  Adult longevity can range from less than a month to five months depending on the family.


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