Panorpa vulgaris in copula - notal organ and salival mass nuptial gift
Image of a copula of Panorpa vulgaris showing some interesting details:
Circle: The male is clamping the fore wing of the female with his notal organ. This prevents her from breaking up the copula (she would damage her wing!)
White blob: Male Scorpionflies will provide a female with a nuptial gift in the form of some dead insect for her to consume during copula. In order to make the copula last longer the male can also produce blobs of salival mass during copula and offer these to her when the dead insect is finished. In this image I had disturbed the lovers a tad so they had turned around, hence the salival mass is now behind them, but normally would be in front of the female ready for her to consume.
Panorpa vulgaris is a very common species of Scorpionfly in Northwest Europe. For a long time it was taken to be a synonym of Panorpa communis, but in the 70's of the last century it was demonstrated that the two are reproductivly isolated. Panorpa vulgaris is the most thermophile of the northern European Scorpionsflies and can more readily be found in open sunny meadows whereas the others prefer more shaded environments.