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Snow scorpionflies
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Mecoptera
Family: Boreidae


Snow scorpionflies (Boreidae) are a very small family of Scorpionflies, containing only around 30 species, all of which are boreal or high-altitude species in the Northern Hemisphere. Recent research indicates that the boreids are more closely related to fleas than to other scorpionflies, which renders the order Mecoptera paraphyletic if the order Siphonaptera is excluded from it.

These insects are small (typically 6 mm or less), with the wings reduced to bristles or absent, and they are somewhat compressed, so there is in fact some resemblance to fleas. They are most commonly active during the winter months, towards the transition into spring, and the larvae typically feed on mosses. The adults will often disperse between breeding areas by walking across the open snow, thus the common name. The males use their bristle-like wings to help grasp the female while mating.

A snow scorpionfly is so adapted to its cold environment just holding it in a human hand will kill it.[1]


This list is adapted from the World Checklist of extant Mecoptera species Boreidae, and complete as of 1997.

  • Boreus Latreille, 1816
    • Boreus beybienkoi 1962 (Kyrghyzstan)
    • Boreus borealis Banks, 1923 (Alaska)
    • Boreus brumalis Fitch, 1847 (USA, Canada)
    • Boreus californicus Packard, 1870 (USA, Canada)
    • Boreus chadzhigireji Pliginsky, 1914 (Ukraine)
    • Boreus coloradensis Byers, 1955 (USA)
    • Boreus elegans Carpenter, 1935 (USA, Canada)
    • Boreus hyemalis (Linnaeus), 1767 (Europe)
    • Boreus intermedius Lloyd, 1934 (Alaska)
    • Boreus jacutensis Plutenko, 1984 (Russia)
    • Boreus jezoensis Hori & Morimoto, 1996 (Japan)
    • Boreus kratochvili Mayer, 1938 (Czechoslovakia)
    • Boreus lokayi Klapálek, 1901 (Romania)
    • Boreus navasi Pliginsky, 1914 (Ukraine)
    • Boreus nivoriundus Fitch, 1847 (USA)
    • Boreus nix Carpenter, 1935 (USA, Canada)
    • Boreus orientalis Martynova, 1954 (Far Eastern Russia)
    • Boreus pilosus Carpenter, 1935 (USA, Canada)
    • Boreus reductus Carpenter, 1933 (USA, Canada)
    • Boreus semenovi Pliginsky, 1930 (Far Eastern Russia)
    • Boreus sjoestedti Navás, 1925 (Kamtchatka Peninsula)
    • Boreus tardokijanensis Plutenko, 1985 (Russia)
    • Boreus vlasovi Martynova, 1954 (Turkmenistan, Tadzhikistan)
    • Boreus westwoodi Hagen, 1866 (Europe)
  • Caurinus Russell, 1979
    • Caurinus dectes Russell, 1979 (Oregon)
  • Hesperoboreus Penny, 1977
    • Hesperoboreus brevicaudus (Byers, 1961) (USA)
    • Hesperoboreus notoperates (Cooper, 1972) (California)

See also


  1. ^ Attenborough, David. (2005) Life in the Undergrowth.


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