Currently viewing the category: "Dobsonflies and Fishflies"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?
Location: North Texas area close to Dallas Lake Ray Hubbard
April 21, 2014 11:14 am
Found this bug on the front of my house under the garage light. Has been there for 3 or 4 days now and has only moved a couple of inches that I know of. You can estimate it’s size from the standard house brick it is sitting on. Did not want to bother it until I knew what it was or may be doing. Thank you for your help in the past and I hope you had a great Easter.
Signature: Dan in Texas

Spring Fishfly

Female Spring Fishfly

Dear Dan,
This sure looks like a female Spring Fishfly,
Chauliodes rastricornis, to us.  According to BugGuide:  “The antennae of females are almost linear, with just a little jagginess on the edges, i.e., serrate (saw-like)” and “Adults typically fly late spring: March?-May (North Carolina), April-May (West Virginia). Seen into early June in New England (Massachusetts–guide photo). Further south, much of year (Florida).”

Female Spring Fishfly

Female Spring Fishfly

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Our Camping Friend
Location: Chaplin, Connecticut
December 10, 2013 11:45 am
This large friend spent about three weeks with us living under the outdoor gazebo during the month of June. At first my kids we’re a bit startled by it’s mere size, at least 6 inches from head to wingtip. But soon he became a member of the family. The kids were sad to wake up one morning so see their friend gone. The kids have been doing their research, but have cam up empty!
Signature: e-mail

Male Dobsonfly

Male Dobsonfly

Dear e-mail,
Even with the lack of clarity in your image, the shape of a harmless male Dobsonfly is unmistakeable. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Jamestown, Tennessee
October 10, 2013 10:56 am
I’m a high school senior this year and currently enrolled in a Biology II class. We recently did an experiment where we placed decomposing leaves in a mesh bag and let our leaf packs sit in water for three weeks. When we opened our leaf packs today, this bug was in our packet. No other group had anything like it, and our teacher could not identify it. Do you know what this could be?
Signature: Alex

Unknown Larva

Unknown Larva might be a Hellgrammite

Hi Alex,
Unlike your Biology teacher, we do not have a background in natural sciences.  We are very curious what this experiment was supposed to produce.  What kind of water were the leaf packs sitting in?  Was it distilled water or were the packs tossed into a lake?  Since the packet was under water, this larva must be aquatic.  At first we thought it was a Hellgrammite, but upon enlarging the thumbnail that was attached to the email, we realized that the appendages typically present along the abdomen of Hellgrammites, the larval form of Dobsonflies, appear to be absent.  The head of your larva does appear quite similar to the head on this Hellgrammite posted to BugGuide.  Perhaps one of our more knowledgeable readers will correct us, but we are still leaning toward this being a Hellgrammite.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Dobsonflies Doing the Deed!
Location: Farmington, NY
August 21, 2013 11:17 am
Hi Bugman! I made a trip to Farmington, NY last month and witnessed the mating of two Dobsonflies. The male was on the front porch screen for a couple of hours, just hanging out and looking lonely. Low and behold, the ”lady of his dreams” arrived! He went right over to her, and they did a little dance for a minute – you know, getting to know each other. He eventually got down to business and they mated for about another minute. I watched the whole ritual and took lots of pictures. I’ve tried to upload 3 of them but it keeps hanging, so here is one. Let me know if you would like more. Thanks for all of your work on the site!
Signature: Dobsonfly Voyeur

Dobsonfly Courtship

Dobsonfly Courtship

Dear Dobsonfly Voyeur,
We would love to see more of your mating Dobsonfly photos.  Just responding to this email should allow you to attach a few.  We are especially interested in photos that document the actual mating activity.  It is fascinating that the male arrived first.  In most insects, the males are attracted to the pheromones released by the female.

Dobsonfly Courtship

Dobsonfly Courtship

Daniel – Great to hear back and thanks for the post on What’s That Bug!  I will attempt to attach 13 pictures to this.  In case the attachments get lost in cyberspace, you can view the pics on my Picasa site.  You are free to use these in any manner (download/post/share, etc).  You can also post the link for visitors of your excellent web site.  All of these were taken with a Samsung Galaxy S4, so the quality is good – but they are not high-quality macro lens shots.  Perhaps my next toy will be a nice digital SLR for events like this.  Thanks again, and glad that you are interested!
Tim Wheeler

Dobsonfly Courtship

Dobsonfly Courtship

Hi again Tim,
Wow.  We have had a call out for quite some time for photos of mating Dobsonflies and we are thrilled to get your documentation.  It will take us a bit of time to format all the images, adjust the image quality and post them, but we plan to make this a featured posting.  The actual mating was quite fast and we are very curious about the actual biological significance of the male’s overly developed mandibles.  Perhaps some knowledgeable expert will eventually write in with more details.

Dobsonfly Courtship

Dobsonfly Courtship

Dobsonfly Mating Begins

Dobsonfly Mating Begins

Dobsonfly Mating Continues

Dobsonfly Mating Continues

Dobsonfly Mating Continues

Dobsonfly Mating Continues

Dobsonfly Mating

Dobsonfly Mating

Dobsonfly Mating

Dobsonfly Mating

Dobsonflies Mating

Dobsonflies Mating

We are especially curious why the actual mating photos are blurrier than the others.  Was the activity especially frenzied with lots of wing flapping, or were you just a bit nervous behind the camera?  Any mating details would be greatly appreciated.

Dobsonflies Mating

Dobsonflies Mating

Dobsonflies after mating

Dobsonflies after mating

Daniel – the overall blurriness of those images was due to the fluttering of both the subjects in front of and behind the lens!  The dobsonflies were much more active during their “session,” and I also admit that I was excited due to your challenge in 2011 for dobsonfly mating pics relating to the male’s mandibles.  I’ve been an avid fan of WTB for quite some time – at least since 2002 when I successfully identified an American Pelecinid on there – so I remembered the “challenge” from back then.  I do apologize for the overall blur factor on those important pics, but hopefully you can make use of them and maybe clear them up a bit.  It was a fascinating evening and I’m glad that I can help the cause!  If I can help in any other way, just let me know.
Many Thanks,
Tim W.

Wow Tim,
You must have been one of our original ten readers.  We are happy you have stayed with us through the years.  Your photos are an excellent documentation, but there are still so many questions unanswered.  We can’t help but wonder:  Why was he poking under her wings with his mandibles?  Was that a required mating technique?  Why did she arrive at the light after him?  Was she attracted to his pheromones?  Is this a reversal of what is typical in most other insects’ mating rituals?  Were they both just attracted to the light?  Perhaps we will eventually learn the answers to some of these questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: interesting bug
Location: northern Illinois/Chicago suburbs
July 27, 2013 1:42 pm
I live in northern Illinois and found this guy outside this morning. It is maybe about an inch long, greenish grey, and long wings. Any ideas?
Signature: Stacy

Stonefly

Spring Fishfly

Hi Stacy,
You must live near a source of water.  This is a Stonefly in the order Plecoptera, but we are uncertain of the species.  See BugGuide for more information on Stoneflies.

Thanks so much!  Yes, there is a marshy area across the street.  The weather up where we are has been unusually cold, so I think he was sunning himself on our house for a good part of the day.  I looked up the info on a Stonefly and for sure, it’s a match!  Thanks for the info and the quick response.  I appreciate it.

Correction:   Spring Fishfly
August 17, 2013
Thanks to a comment from Joshua, we are admitting that in a hurry we misidentified this Fishfly, mistaking it for a Stonefly.  See BugGuide for a matching image of a female Spring Fishfly,
Chauliodes rastricornis.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: STRANGE BUG
Location: greenbelt, maryland
July 25, 2013 4:58 am
this was located on the side of a cement building next to a grassy area. About 8 am in the morning temperature was around 62. Greenbelt, MD. long antenna in front move when motion in front of it. definitely has wings. and horns on its head
Signature: jean manall

Male Dobsonfly

Male Dobsonfly

Dear Jean,
We imagine your encounter with this male Dobsonfly was an eye opening event for you.  Though he looks fierce, he is perfectly harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination