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

Subject: Is this some type of dobsonfly?
Location: Blackshear, GA, USA
March 18, 2015 8:46 pm
I found this guy near my front porch. Seemed drawn to the porch light, but not too great a flier. Can’t find anything looking like it to know exactly what it is.
Signature: Hil

Spring Fishfly

Spring Fishfly

Dear Hil,
This Spring Fishfly,
Chauliodes rastricornis, is closely related to the Dobsonfly, but it is a much smaller insect.  Your individual is a female as evidenced by her serrated antennae.  According to BugGuide:  “The antennae of females are serrate (saw-like):  The comb-like, (pectinate) antennae of the males are quite obvious.”  Sightings in Georgia occur in March and April according to BugGuide.

Spring Fishfly

Spring Fishfly

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Female Dobsonfly?
Location: Somerset County, NJ
July 25, 2014 7:14 pm
Found this insect (already dead) on my parents’ front porch in central NJ on 7/14/14. After some research I’m thinking it’s a female dobsonfly, but not sure. Wondering what could have killed it and left it intact, and if there might be a nest nearby (shudder). Thanks!
Signature: Megan in NJ

Dobsonfly

Dobsonfly

Dear Megan,
You are correct that this is a female Dobsonfly.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults likely do not feed” which means they are not very long lived.  This Dobsonfly may have died of old age/natural causes.  Dobsonflies are not social insects that produce a nest, but if you have habitat, including a nearby stream, there may be a significant population in your vicinity.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug in becket ma
Location: Becket Ma
July 22, 2014 8:54 pm
This bug landed on my door screen in late June . It stayed for two days. It was about four inches tall. I have summered in the Berkshires for thirty years and never seen a bug so big. I did not kill it . I must have flown off on the second night.
Signature: Barbara French

Male Dobsonfly

Male Dobsonfly

Dear Barbara,
The mandibles and large size of a male Dobsonfly are the stuff of nightmares for folks who are afraid of bugs, but despite the fierce appearance, male Dobsonflies are perfectly harmless.  Female Dobsonflies, though their mandibles are considerably smaller, pose a greater threat of biting, and though the bite might be painful and possibly even draw blood, they are not venomous.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: curious to find out what this is
Location: Western Virginia, Shenandoah National Park
July 19, 2014 6:28 am
Good morning Bugman.
My son and I were staying at a hotel in Virginia (just outside of Shenandoah National Park), in mid-July. He saw this creature on the wall, and this is one we’ve never seen before. It didn’t move, even after the flash from the camera. Thank goodness, because those mandibles look ferocious.
Signature: Bob M.

Female Dobsonfly

Female Dobsonfly

Dear Bob M.,
This is a female Dobsonfly, and your timing is perfect as we just posted an image of a sexually dimorphic male Dobsonfly.  Though his mandibles are much more impressive looking, they are unable to bite human skin, but the smaller and more utilitarian mandibles of the female are capable of delivering a painful bite that might even draw blood, so you should handle her with caution.  You can compare this image of a male and female Dobsonfly side by side and also view the courtship process.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: duson fly ?
Location: blakeslee ,pa
July 19, 2014 2:59 pm
Hi i live in northeastern pa . I found this bug outside of my work on the wall and was wondering what it was? Many people were freaking out over it because of the way it looked and its size. It was about 5 inches long . Never saw one before.
Signature: lordnikon

Male Dobsonfly

Male Dobsonfly

Dear lordnikon,
Though you have the spelling wrong, you are correct that this is a male Dobsonfly.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What IS this thing?!
Location: Catskills, NY
July 16, 2014 3:26 pm
This bizarre looking bug was just outside the door last night. It seemed to be having trouble landing on the siding of the house, but was exceptionally persistant to find purchase on the faux wood. As it came into the light, it struck me just how strange it appeared. As far as I could tell, it had a head and mandables that somewhat resemble a large ant or perhaps even a terminte, though it’s legs had tiny ridges that made them more resemble the legs of a house fly. As the below pictures show, it’s eyes protrude slightly from it’s head, just below a set of large feather-like antenna that I would expect to see on a moth. It’s body was very long like that of a dragonfly, yet at the same time surprisingly plump much like a gypsy moth. Though the piture does not show it, it had a set of four wings, all of them crystal clear, with vainy dark lines through them as would be found on a dragonfly or cicada. I suspect it may be nocturnal, as it was very clumsy la st evening in it’s movements and flight. At some point, it managed to find a way into the house, and went straight for the wooden cabnets before dissipearing into some dark and unknown location. It seems to like wood quite a lot. Early this morning it was found again in the kitchen, virtually unmoving as it perched in the the darkened sink corner behind a mug. However, it seemed fine once released again outside. I’m far from an expert on the matter, and have been searching google off and on for a large portion of the day. I have never in my life seen anything quite like this bug, and I can’t help feeling a certian mixture of confusion and awe as to what it might be. Any help at all in possibly identifying it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for any help you might provide.
Signature: Simply Baffled

Fishfly

Fishfly

Dear Simply Baffled,
Your Summer Fishfly,
Chauliodes pectinicornis, is in the family Corydalidae along with the considerably larger Dobsonflies.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination