Panorpa lugubris  Swederus, 1787

 

Diagnosis:  This is one of a group of Panorpa species in which males have elongate 7th and 8th abdominal segments, and the hypovalves are very short, only about ¼ the length of the basistyles and reaching only to about the base of the aedeagus.  The male ninth tergum is apically rounded, not medially notched.   Females has genital plates that lack the terminal lobes This species is very distinctive.  Its wings are almost completely black, with only three partial, thin white bands across each wing.

 

Distribution – Geographical:  The range of this species extends from southeastern Virginia (Barrows & Flint, 2009), along the Atlantic Coast to northern Florida (Somma & Dunford, 2008) and westward across the Gulf Coast states to Mississippi (Byers, 1993).

 

Distribution – Temporal:  There is a small spring emergence from mid-April to early June, and a much larger emergence from September to December.  There are a few records from August and January (Byers, 1993).

 

Ecology:  In southeastern Virginia  this species is most frequently found  in “an open overstory of mostly pond pines and longleaf pines with sandy openings patchily covered with low-growing huckleberry and sheep laurel” (Evans & Flint, 2009). 

 

Biology:  Courting behavior is discussed by Byers (1993).  Eggs are laid in clusters of 12 to 42 eggs in the sandy soil at 5 to 10 mm depth.  The egg stage lasted from 7 to 9 days.  Upon hatching the larvae grew rapidly on a diet of Drosophila and Blatella, reaching last larval instar in less than 2 weeks (Byers, 1993).  A mature larva is approximately 17 mm long and eruciform in shape (Mampe & Neunzig, 1965).

 

Notes:  The term lugubris refers to the black wings.  It is sometimes called the mourning scorpionfly due to these dark wings.  Panorpa scorpio  Fabricius, 1793 is a synonym.

 

References:

 

Barrows, E.M. and O.S. Flint, Jr.  2009.  Mecopteran (Mecoptera: Bittacidae, Meropeidae, Panorpidae) Flight Periods, Sex Ratios, and Habitat Frequencies in a United States Mid-Atlantic Freshwater Tidal Marsh, Low Forest, and their Ecotome.  Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 82(3):223-230.

 

Byers, G.W. 1993. Autumnal Mecoptera of southeastern United States. University of Kansas Science Bulletin,  55(2):57-96.

 

Evans, A.V. and O.S. Flint, Jr.  2009.  The mourning scorpionfly, Panorpa lugubris, in Virginia (Mecoptera: Panorpidae).  Banisteria  33:58-60.

 

Mampe, C.D. and H.H. Neunzig. 1965. Larval Descriptions of two species of Panorpa (Mecoptera: Panorpidae), with notes on their biology.  Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 58:843-849.

 

Neunzig, H.H. and C.D. Mampe. 1967. A description of the pupa of Panorpa lugubris (Mecoptera:Panorpidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 60:410-411.

 

Somma, L.A. and J.C. Dunford. 2008. Preliminary checklist of the Mecoptera of Florida: Earwigflies, hangingflies, and scorpionflies. Insecta Mundi (0042): 1-9.

 

Swederus, N. 1787. Fortsattning af beskrifningen pa 50 nya species af Insekter. Kungliga Svenska VetenskapsAkademiens Handlingar, 8:276-290

 

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