Residents of Mexico are reporting being attacked by a "flying scorpion." Vic Smith via California Academy of Sciences

Residents of northern Mexico are reporting attacks and it is not by thugs, rowdy youths or cartel members -- they're being attacked by insects. According to social media users, as first reported by SDPnoticias, a "flying scorpion" has attacked several residents in the area of Hermosillo, Sonora. While it is colloquially called the "flying scorpion" -- or "alacrán volador" in Spanish -- the insect is no stranger to the habitat of northern Mexico habitat.

The formal name of the specimen is Panorpa nuptialis and it found all over the North American continent and can even be found in south-central United States. "Panorpa nuptialis emerge as adults from September to November, and early December in the southern part of its range with a peak emergence in October," explains the California Academy of Sciences on their website. "This species prefers more open, sunlit habitat than most North American species of Panorpa, such as field crops, meadows, pastures and open woodland."

According to Henderson State University, this three-legged insect is reddish-brown in color with a long abdomen. A member of the Mecoptera order, only the male members of the "scorpionfly" have the stinger, as it is their genitalia, for reproductive functions. And while the stinger looks daunting, it cannot sting and thus, the creature is harmless.

The insect species typically feasts on vegetation, pollen, nectar, and occasionally, dead or weak insects. If the omnivore insects are not disturbed, they do not attack humans.

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