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Some Foods of Adult Scorpionflies in the Washington, D.C., Area
(E. M. Barrows, 10 June 2008, updated 12 June 2008)
As adults, scorpionflies (Mecoptera: Panopidae) feed on dead and dying animals and nectar, pollen, and floral appendages (Webb et al. 1975, Byers and Thornhill 1983, Byers 2002, pers. obs.).
Below are photographs of panorpid adults feeding on a twitching immature orthopteran (Tetigoniidae) (May 2008, Virginia), an adult pyralid moth (May 2007, Virginia), a dead young Eastern Gray Squirrel (August 2004, Mayland), and nectar from Euonymus americanus (Strawberrybush) (May 2007 and 2008, Virginia).
Dr. Oliver S. Flint, Jr. (Smithsonian Institution), identified the Panorpa helena.
Please, click on images to enlarge them.
Figure 1. A female Panorpa helena consuming nectar on a flower of on Euonymus americanus (24 May 2008).
Figure 2. The same Panorpa helena.
Figure 3. A male Panorpa helena consuming nectar on a flower of on Euonymus americanus (25 May 2007).
Figure 4. A male Panorpa helena consuming a small pyralid moth (24 May 2007).
Figure 5. A male Panorpa helena consuming an immature orthopteran (Tettigoniidae)(24 May 2008). The orthopteran was twitching as I took the photo.
Figures 68. A male Panorpa helena feeding on fluids from a dead young Eastern Gray Squirrel. The Panorpa helena quickly flew about and crawled on the Squirrel for several minutes (31 August 2004).
Byers, G. W. 1997. Biology of Brachypanorpa (Mecoptera: Panorpodidae). Journal of the Kanasas Entomological Society 70: 313322.
Byers, G. W. 2002. Scorpionflies, hangingflies, and other Mecoptera. The Kansas School Naturalist 48: 116.
Byers, G. W., and R. Thornhill. 1983. Biology of the Mecoptera. Annual Review of Entomology 28: 203228.
Carpenter, F. M. 1931. Revision of the Nearctic Mecoptera. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 72: 205277+ 8 plates.
Flint, O. S., Jr. 2008. Scorpionflies and hangingflies (Insecta: Mecoptera) from Plummers Island, Maryland. Bulletin of the Biological Society of Washington 15: 127129.
Maier, C. T. 1984. Habitats, Distributional Records, Seasonal Activity, Abundance, and Sex-ratios of Boreidae and Meropeidae (Mecoptera) Collected in New England. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 86: 608613.
Webb, D. W., N D. Penny, and J. C. Marlin. 1975. The Mecoptera, or Scorpionflies, of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin. 31: 350316.