McKinney Falls State Park, Austin TX

October 12, 2018


@chrishopper I found this guy in the bunch grass off of the prairie/picnic area just past the upper falls.

Bugguide lists their habitat as [link]:

low shrubs and ground cover in densely-vegetated woodlands, often near water or wet seeps; grasslands, cultivated fields, forest margins; adults mostly seen resting on leaves within 1 m from the ground

If you go looking, go soon. They essentially fly for 6 weeks in Texas during early fall. I guess this is the one case where the south doesn’t have a better bug situation than the north!

From bugguide:

Scorpionfly distribution map of user-submitted photos

Annual occurrence of scorpionflies by state and month, based on user-submitted photos.

@celestialmacros made a comment about seeing one but not getting the pinchy butt: only the males have the pinchy butt! He uses it to grab onto the female so he can mate with her while she’s distracted by his offering of delicious foods. It’s possible you saw a female, which could be why you didn’t notice the tail.

Others who now fear this world where scorpions can fly: it’s okay, you’re safe!! This is a case of convergent evolution, except not even really. Scorpions are arachnids with a stinger on their tails. Scorpionflies are a type of insect who cannot sting or harm humans. The males just have a tail that curls up in a way that reminded whoever named them of scorpions. They are also not very large. Maybe an inch long, total?

I’m still super excited about this. 😀

October 12, 2018