scorpionfly

/skawr"pee euhn fluy'/, n., pl. scorpionflies.
any of several harmless insects of the order Mecoptera, the male of certain species having a reproductive structure that resembles the sting of a scorpion. Also, scorpion fly.
[1660-70; SCORPION + FLY2]

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insect
      (order Mecoptera), any of several species of insects characterized by chewing mouthparts at the tip of an elongated beak; long, many-segmented, threadlike antennae; and two pairs of membranous, net-veined wings that may be transparent, darkly spotted, or banded. The larva resembles a caterpillar; pupation occurs in the soil. Both larva and adult feed on dead animals, especially insects, and sometimes on plants.

      The scorpionfly is harmless to humans and serves a useful function in nature as a scavenger. Its name refers to the way in which the male holds its genitalia (a bulblike segment at the end of the abdomen) over its back in a manner similar to that of a scorpion.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • scorpionfly — noun a) any insect of the family Panorpidae having a curved tail rather like a scorpion b) the insect order Mecoptera …   Wiktionary

  • scorpionfly — scor′pi•on•fly or scor′pion fly n. pl. flies ent any of several harmless insects of the order Mecoptera, the male of certain species having a reproductive structure resembling the stinger of a scorpion • Etymology: 1660–70 …   From formal English to slang

  • scorpionfly — /skawr pee euhn fluy /, n., pl. scorpionflies. any of several harmless insects of the order Mecoptera, the male of certain species having a reproductive structure that resembles the sting of a scorpion. Also, scorpion fly. [1660 70; SCORPION +… …   Useful english dictionary

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