Though this may look like a clever photoshop at first, this unusual-looking insect is the common scorpionfly. The scorpionfly has several distinctive features, particularly its long “beak” and a tail that gives them their name. The beak has tiny jaws situated at the end, and during mating the male presents the female with a gift of saliva in the hope she will mate with him instead of killing him.
Despite what you may think when you see that tail, scorpionflies don’t sting. The tail is not even a weapon. It is actually the male fly’s genitals and a pair of claspers, and does not appear on the female. Assuming his gift of saliva has been well received, the male uses these to hold the female in place so they can mate.
Photo credit: Micropolitan.org
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