Panorpa nebulosa Westwood, 1846
Diagnosis: This is one of eight species belonging to the ‘nebulosa’ group having spotted wings, rather than bands, and males with no anal horn on the 6th abdominal tergite. Males of five of the species, including P. nebulosa, have a cluster of spines at the apico-mesal corner of the basistyles and bristles along the mesal surface of the hypovalves. The ventral parameres of Panorpa nebulosa have long bristles in the basal half, and are evenly curved and lacking small bristles in the apical half. The male 9th tergite has finger-like lateral lobes at the apex.
Distribution – Geographical: This is a common species throughout much of the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, from Maine southward to the mountains of Georgia and across the upper Midwest from Pennsylvania to Illinois and Wisconsin and northward to Ontario and Quebec.
Distribution – Temporal: May 6 until October 10 in the southern part of the range.
Ecology: This species seems to prefer cool, shaded mixed forests where they rest on dense understory vegetation. They are often found in montane forests from the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina to Rib Mountain in central Wisconsin.
Biology: This species has been reared by George W. Byers, and the fourth instar larva described by Boese (1973).
Notes: This species is very similar to P. sigmoides and P. capillata, but they both have male ventral parameres with a sigmoidal curve and dense, small bristles apically. Other similar species include P. flexa which has ventral parameres that are more sharply curved at almost a 90° angle, and P. acuta that has no lateral lobes to the 9th tergite.
The name nebulosa is Latin for misty or cloudy, and probably refers to the diffuse spots on the wings, rather than distinct bands, as found on wings of many species of Panorpa.
Boese, A.E. 1973. Descriptions of larvae and key to fourth instars of North American Panorpa (Mecoptera:Panorpidae). Kansas University Science Bulletin, 50:163-186.
Westwood, J.O. 1846. A Monograph of the Genus Panorpa, with Descriptions of some Species belonging to other allied Genera. Transactions of the Royal Entomological Society of London, 4:184-196.