Scorpion Fly

Panorpa communis


Body length 10 - 15mm. There are three British species of Scorpion Flies (Panorpa cognata, P. communis and P. germanica) which are all very similar. Males can be separated by examining the genital claspers. All have four long wings held in a delta-winged shape, horizontally beside the abdomen. The wings are heavily marked with a pattern of black spots, in communis there is normally a complete black band. The head and body are black marked with yellow. The palps are red and beak-like, and the terminal part of the abdomen is also red. The males hold their red genital capsule 'scorpion-like' above their abdomen.


Woodland margins and hedgerows where they prey on small insects.

Status and distribution

P. communis and P. germanica are common and widespread in England and Wales with much fewer records from Scotland, mainly in the lowlands. Common in Nottinghamshire and at Netherfield Lagoons. P. cognata is much less common and local.

Best time to see

May to September.