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Scorpion Fly

Common name for a flying insect with the scientific designation Panorpa communis and in Thai known as malaeng maengpong. It is also referred to as Common Scorpion Fly and may also be spelled Scorpionfly. Males that occur in Thailand have a body and abdomen that is blackish above and pale grey to whitish below, whilst the tail and elongated, nozzle-shaped head are a brownish red to orange. At the front, the segments of its body armour have a pale grey to whitish edge, making the body dorsally appear to be black with whitish rings. The male's tail-end has a bulbous sting-like appendix, purportedly used for holding the female during mating, and which is reminiscent of a scorpion's tail (fig.), hence the origin of the name Scorpion Fly. The male's wings are clear with blackish veins and a spotted pattern, with patches that are larger toward the apexes. It has legs that are greyish brown to black, large blackish eyes, and black antennae that are about the same length as its body. Females are similar but the reddish orange tail lacks the bulbous sting-like appendix, and the wings are translucent with thick blackish veins at the base, while the wings' apexes are blackish with a transparent spot at the centre. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.