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Scorpionflies are so-called because the end of the male's tail is shaped like the sting of a scorpion. However, this is merely a harmless genital capsule. The male uses it in mating to hold onto the female. The adults also have distinctively elongated faces. The mandibles are slender and serrated. The antennae are thread-like (filiform). The compound eyes are usually well-developed. The larvae are caterpillar-like and often have a suctioon-pad at the end. Mating is often preceded by ritual feeding - often the male gives the female saliva! This is so she does not eat him!
The adult is seen between May and September, and can be usually found in hedgerows and patches of nettle. They eat dead insects (although they sometimes eat live aphids), sometimes taking them from spider webs. Although fully winged, the adults rarely fly very far and spend much of their time crawling on vegetation in damp, shaded places near water and along hedgerows. Eggs are laid in soil annually and the larvae both scavenge and pupate there.
Related spotting: http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/227...