Sunday 30 December 2018

Panorpa bashanicola: A new species of Scorpionfly from the Bashan Mountains in central China.

The Scorpionflies (Mecoptera) are a group of insects related to the True Flies. They get their name from the reproductive organs of the males of some species, which resemble the tails of Scorpions. Despite this fierce appearance most species are harmless herbivores, though it is thought that fleas are highly specialised members of the group, and the True Flies, Butterflies and Moths may have evolved from the group in the Mesozoic. The group has a fossil record dating back to the Permian, and it has been suggested that the Scorpionflies were the first Insects to pollinate plants, possibly pollinating gymnospermous plants in the Jurassic before the origin of true flowering plants.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 30 July 2018, Yuan Hua and Shi-Heng Tao of the College of Life Sciences at Northwest A&F University, and Bao-Zhen Hua of the Key Laboratory of
Plant Protection Resources and Pest Management, and Entomological Museum at Northwest A&F University, describe a new species of Scorpionfly from the Bashan Mountains in central China.

The new species is placed in the genus Panorpa, and given the specific name bashanicola, in reference to the area where it was found. The species has a distinctive wing patterning, with two pale longitudinal stripes and four pale rounded spots on its forewings, and a head and body is brown in colour, with grey eyes. The species was found in Shaanxi and Hubei provinces.

Panorpa bashanicola, male in dorsal view (top left), female in dorsal view (top right) and male abdomen in dorsal view (bottom).

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