Panorpa Vulgaris

The over 100 species of scorpion fly Panorpa (Mecoptera) have a world-wide distribution. Both sexes are characterized by a snout-shaped elongated head, and the males have a tail-like grasping apparatus resembling a scorpion's tail, which is used to hold the female during copulation. During mating, the male presents a ''nuptial gift'' to the female, a proteinaceous bowl produced by the salivary gland. The adults are common on shrubs in shady areas. They feed on dead organisms, mostly insects. Under mid-European environmental conditions two generations per year—a spring and an autumn generation—can be produced. The last larval stage of the second generation enters an overwintering diapause.

Panorpa is remarkable in that it shows senescence like histological degenerations even under free-living conditions.

Rearing conditions Adults can be maintained in the laboratory on long day (18:6 h) conditions at 23°C and 60-75% relative humidity. Cages (40 x 20 x 35 cm) for 50 individuals are covered on top and on the four sides with gauze and can be placed on paper sheets. These insects are such lazy fliers that the cages can easily be handled without special opening devices. Mealworm larvae are suited as food. Under this treatment, males and females reach a maximum life span of about 110 days, which is in accordance with free-living populations. Life expectancy at the day of emergence is 61-63 days for both males and females. After sampling egg-clusters from moist peat-soil used as egg-laying substrate, they are transferred to Petri dishes containing the same substrate. The emerging larvae are fed on pieces of mealworm larvae. Under the same conditions, the larvae hatch after 6 days, pass through 4 larval stages in 3 weeks and emerge after an additional 3 weeks. Adult males emerge 3 days after the females.

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