Monday, May 16, 2016

Two new scorpionflies: Panorpa reflexa and Panorpa parallela

Scorpionflies are named for the appearance of the male insect. The back of his body is enlarged and modified into a wicked-looking tail resembling that of a scorpion. Despite their look, scorpionflies neither sting nor bite and are completely harmless.

These insects are usually not very common but at times they can be found in fair numbers, sitting on leaves in the undergrowth of open woods or in overgrown old fields. Larvae resemble the caterpillars of moths or butterflies. The only difference is that scorpionflies already have compound eyes. Both larva and adults scavenge for dead insects. Sometimes you can see adults feeding on prey trapped in spider webs.

Males often attract female scorpionflies with a morsel of food as nuptial gift which explains the species name.

Two new species were discovered in the Yunnan Province, China. Both their names refer to some morphological features.

For the experts: Two new scorpionfly species, Panorpa reflexa sp. n. and Panorpa parallela sp. n., are described and illustrated from Yunnan Province, China. Panorpa reflexa can be readily differentiated from its congeners by the 3-shaped parameres in male genitalia. Panorpa parallela is unique for its parallel parameres in male genitalia. The number of Panorpa species is raised to four in Yunnan Province, and to 113 throughout China.

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