Rob W's picture

Panorpa species

Observed: 23rd April 2011 By: Rob W
Panorpa species, Locks Park, 23 Apr 11, reduced
Panorpa species, Locks Park, 23 Apr 11, reduced 1

I would be grateful for an identification to species of this scorpionfly, please, if possible. Is there an on-line key to the British species? Regards, Rob Wolton

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Fenwickfield's picture


It suggests that there are only four British scorpion flies and only the male has the scorpion like tail,it also say's that to tell which one you have to be able to examine the genitalia.I hope this help's and hopefully on of the expert's may be able to narrow it down for you


Martin Harvey's picture


Thanks for these excellent photos, and I think we now have males of all three UK species nicely illustrated on iSpot. Yours is P. germanica, there is a good P. communis here:

and I think a P. cognata (the least common of the three) at:

In each case it is the shape of the paired calipers that you need to look at, usually visible on the male's 'sting' (genital capsule) in a good close-up photo.

I'm not aware of an online key but Colin Plant's excellent FSC key covers scorpionflies along with lacewings, alderflies and snakeflies:

Entomologist and biological recorder

Martin Harvey's picture

online info

Just found this very helpful blog post by Tim Worfolk that illustrates all three species:

Tim uses the term "hypovalves" for what I've been calling callipers.

Entomologist and biological recorder

Rob W's picture

Panorpa germanica

Martin, many thanks for this identification and for your very helpful explanation about the differences between the three British species. Tim's blog is also most useful. I shall keep an eye out for the other two species in the hedge I'm looking at in detail. Best wishes, Rob