University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Mystery Bug Answers

Mystery Picture #36

Mystery Picture #36

(Mystery Pictures)(Mystery Pictures)


As ferocious as a tiger - is probably how these fast flying predators got their common name of Tiger beetle. The adults skitter quickly over the ground and fly readily if approached. The larval stages live in burrows in the ground and snag their insect prey as it wanders by.

Tiger beetles are members of the general group of ground beetles. They are beneficial insects because they prey on many pest species. To read more about this group, see EntFact 104 - Ground Beetles.


BIODIDAC, University of Ottawa
These unusual insects can be found resting on dense vegetation. Some are predators, others are scavengers. Their common name, Scorpionfly, is based on the long, curved tail of the males of some species. Their tails make them resemble some feared desert-dwelling arthropods (scorpions!) that have a long tail with a stinger that arches back over the abdomen.

Scorpionflies have interesting mating behavior as well. Male scorpionflies of the genus Panorpa give a dead insect as a "wedding" gift to females with whom they wish to mate! They may find the dead insect or they may steal it from a spider's web (wow! that's a dangerous thing to do!). Then they release a sex pheromone that attracts the female scorpionfly. If she likes the gift, she will stay to eat it while they mate.

(This information was taken from two college textbooks:

  • Thornhill, R. and J. Alcock. 1983. The Evolution of Insect Mating Systems. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA, p. 271-272.
  • J. Alcock. 1993. Animal Behavior, An Evolutionary Approach. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, MA, p. 418-419.)

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