Thursday, February 9, 2017

ZooWeird 71

A doggerel series about odd or little-known animals.

Scorpionfly. The common scorpionfly is a weird, scorpion-like insect found throughout the UKs. Males appear to have a stinger-like tail. No wonder why P. Communis (and other closely related species) are commonly known as “scorpion flies.” Adults have a black and yellow body, with a reddish head and tail. Adults are up to 3 cm (~1.1 in.) long with a wingspan of about 3.5 cm (~1.4 in.). The wings are mostly clear but have many dark spots or patches. The head is extended into a beak-like shape and the tiny jaws are situated at the end. Adults eat dead insects (although they sometimes consume live aphids), which are occasionally stolen from spider webs. They may also eat rotting rotting vegetable matter. Despite their large wings, flights are usually brief and short. They like to rest on the surface of leaves in dense shade. Breeding usually occurs at night. Mating is sometimes a dangerous game for males, who might easily get killed by the female. To avoid this, the male first presents a nuptial gift of a dead insect or a mass of saliva to placate her. Consider it something like a box of chocolates or a bunch of roses! (All animal info from

So sex is dangerous for them—
Well, not for her, but, yes, for him.

The female’s stinger—deadly, yo.
So he must watch, or off he’ll go

To where all careless males reside—
The world of death—inseXticide!

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