Minnesota Scorpionflies and Hangingflies

Order Mecoptera

Mecoptera is an order of insects that is most often by characteristics that they do no have. According to the World Checklist of Extant Mecoptera Species, the defining characteristics of Mecoptera are:

“Hindwings are not modified into small halteres, as in Diptera. Forewings are not modified into sclerotized wing covers, as in Coleoptera. Wings are not covered with hairs or scales, as in Trichoptera and Lepidoptera. Their bodies are not strongly flattened and sclerotized for an ectoparasitic mode of existence, as in fleas. Forewings are similar in size and shape, unlike Hymenoptera. Wings usually do not have reticulate venation, with apical forks and twiggings, as in Neuroptera and Megaloptera. The thorax is not elongate, as in Raphidioptera (snake-flies). However, many of the modern families of Mecoptera have the mouthparts extended into an elongate rostrum.”

The morphological diversity of the order suggests that it will eventually be reorganized as several groups. A 2002 DNA study suggests that the order Siphonaptera (fleas) should be included in this order, but this has not been widely adopted. The order currently includes scorpionflies, hangingflies, and the earwigfly or forcepfly.

There are about 550 species in 9 families worldwide, 85 species in 5 families in North America north of Mexico.

None of the species below has a unique common name. They all go by the common name of the family to which their genus belongs.

cecropia moth



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common scorpionfly (Panorpa anomala)






common scorpionfly (Panorpa helena)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa banksi)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa claripennis)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa galerita)

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common scorpionfly (Panorpa helena)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa nebulosa)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa setifera)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa sigmoides)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa speciosa)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa subfurcata)


common scorpionfly (Panorpa submaculosa)


earwigfly (Merope tuber)


hangingfly (Bittacus pilicornis)


hangingfly (Bittacus stigmaterus)


hangingfly (Bittacus strigosus)













No Species Page Yet?

If you do not see a linked page for an insect in the list at left, or the insect does not appear in the list, you can still upload a photo or video as an email attachment or report a sighting for that insect. Click on one of the buttons below and type in the common name and/or scientific name of the insect in your photo, video, or sighting. A new page will be created for that insect featuring your contribution.










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