The evolutionary origin of holometabolous larvae is a long-standing and controversial issue. The Mecoptera are unique in Holometabola for their larvae possessing a pair of compound eyes instead of stemmata. The ultrastructure of the larval eyes of the scorpionfly Panorpa dubia Chou and Wang, 1981 was investigated using transmission electron microscopy. Each ommatidium possesses a cornea, a tetrapartite eucone crystalline cone, eight retinula cells, two primary pigment cells, and an undetermined number of secondary pigment cells. The rhabdomeres of the eight retinula cells form a centrally-fused, tiered rhabdom of four distal and four proximal retinula cells. The rhabdomeres of the four distal retinula cells extend distally into a funnel shape around the basal surface of the crystalline cone. Based on the similarity of the larval eyes of Panorpidae to the eyes of the hemimetabolous insects and the difference from the stemmata of the holometabolous larvae, the evolutionary origin of the holometabolous larvae is briefly discussed. Morphol., 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.