Scorpion Flies

Facts, Identification

Insect Name

Order Mecoptera


Scorpion flies are so called due to the males of one family (Panorpidae) having enlarged abdomen and genitalia, which resemble a scorpion’s tail and stinger. Scorpion flies have two pairs of wings and a strong pair of hind legs, which they use to catch prey. However, despite their double set of wings, scorpion flies generally fly slowly and in erratic patterns. Although scorpion flies appear alarming, they are not known to harm humans. They also seldom breed in large groups, preferring instead to live in single, mated pairs.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Depending on the species, some scorpion fly larvae may be predatory. Others feed on moist, decomposing organic matter, which can include carrion. Larvae resemble small caterpillars, with compound eyes and short antennae. During pupation, the scorpion fly buries itself into loose soil, emerging as an adult fly.


Scorpion fly mating and feeding rituals are of interest to the scientific community. Females select their partners based on gift offerings of prey. Scorpion flies are also known as hanging flies, as they sometimes hang suspended from a plant branch in order to blend into their surroundings. They then pounce on smaller insects.

Signs of a Scorpion Fly Infestation

Scorpion flies do not infest indoors and therefore would have no indoor signs. They usually are encountered as adults outdoors. They may be seen in vegetation.

Black Flies

Cluster Flies

Crane Flies

Crane Fly Larvae

Deer Flies

Face Flies

Flesh Flies

Life Cycle of Flesh Flies

Horn Flies

Horse Flies

Sand Flies

Sparaerocierid Flies

Yellow Flies

Western Cherry Fruit Flies