The Scorpion Fly

Scorpion Fly at Dunstable Downs

The Scorpion Fly may look terrifying but it has a wingspan of just 35mm and it doesn't sting! You can spot the Scorpion Fly hidden in the long grass or within the hedgerows.

Scorpion Fly (Panorpa communis)
The scorpion-like tail is only found on the males who present a saliva drop or a dead insect as a present to the females before they mate. It is important for the males to impress as the females are likely to kill them if not happy with their gift! The Scorpion Fly has a long, hard beak which it uses to scavenge food such as dead insects, rotting fruit and nectar. It even steals victims from spider webs! The larvae look like caterpillars and grow up to 20mm long and they pupate on the ground. Adults are mostly found in hedgerows and nettle beds. Although they can fly, they prefer to crawl around vegetation looking for their next meal or possible mate. You can spot Scorpion Flies at Dunstable downs but hurry, they won't be around for much longer for this year!