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

Subject: Satan’s spawn
Location: Northern Maine
May 29, 2016 6:34 pm
Any idea what this could be? Was in northern Maine near The Forks and river. Quite a few around. Bleeeeeech!
Signature: Nanci “I’m not touching that” Sullivan

Hellgrammite

Hellgrammite

Dear Nanci,
This is the larva of a Dobsonfly, and we are very amused at your subject line because Dobsonfly Larvae are known as Hellgrammites, and we have never to our satisfaction been able to determine the etymology of that name, which might actually mean “Satan’s Spawn.”  Though they are not considered dangerous, Hellgrammites can deliver a painful pinch that might even draw blood in some instances.  Hellgrammites are a prized bait for freshwater fishermen.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this?!
Location: Tennessee
May 17, 2016 12:45 pm
Found near a creek. Wriggling around on a rock. What is it?
Signature: Raya D Whitworth

Dobsonfly Pupa

Dobsonfly Pupa

Dear Raya,
This is the pupa of a Dobsonfly.  We get numerous submissions of images of adult Dobsonflies, and we get a fair number of images of larval Dobsonflies known as Hellgrammites, but images of Dobsonfly pupae are not that common.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Found at south Carolina lake house
Location: South Carolina
April 3, 2016 5:19 pm
I found this in the driveway of my parent’s home in South south Carolina. It’s very slow and about 5 inches long. It’s head is flat with large pincers. The front half looks like a beetle, hard segments, 6 segmented legs. The rest looks like a centipede. It has multiple segments with what seem like non functioning legs.
Signature: Curious in Carolina

Hellgrammite

Hellgrammite

Dear Curious,
Though we have never been able to identify successfully the etymological origin of the word Hellgrammite, it is nonetheless an appropriate name for the impressive larva of the Dobsonfly.  While five inches seems like a bit of an exaggeration, Hellgrammites are large insects.  Hellgrammites are found near sources of water since they are aquatic, but they will move to drier ground to pupate.  Adult Dobsonflies should begin to appear in your area very soon.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Long black bug with pinchers?
Location: Hudson valley, ny
June 5, 2015 10:24 am
Hi.
I found this bug dead in an abandoned farmhouse in central new york in late may. The underside was a an orangey-brown color and I’ve never seen a bug like this in that area before. At first I thought it was a queen termite or something, vit that doesn’t seem to be the case. Do you guys have any clue to what this is?
Signature: – its very scary pls help

Hellgrammite

Hellgrammite

We are speculating that the farmhouse was near a stream or river.  This is a dessicated Hellgrammite, the larva of a Dobsonfly.  Both Hellgrammites and female Dobsonflies are known to bite, and they may draw blood with their powerful mandibles, but they are considered harmless, and Hellgrammites are prized bait for freshwater anglers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s the name of this bug?
Location: Stamford, Connecticut
May 16, 2015 11:24 am
Can’t find anything online !! A few things I know: It comes out when it rains. It has huge wings and it has a stinger.
Signature: Thalita

Hellgrammite

Hellgrammite

Dear Thalita,
This is a Hellgrammite, the larval form of a Dobsonfly.  When it matures into a winged adult, it is quite fierce looking, and the adults are sexually dimorphic.  Male Dobsonflies have enormous sickle shaped mandibles, and despite the fierce appearance, they are harmless.  Female Dobsonflies have much smaller, though more utilitarian mandibles that can be used to defend her against predators.  We recently learned first hand what we have long suspected, that the bite of a female Dobsonfly might draw blood.  You are misinformed about Dobsonflies or Hellgrammites possessing stingers.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: what is this bug?
Location: Milford nh 03055
May 11, 2015 1:24 am
My husband and I went to the store this morning and noticed this large and honestly creepy bug… what is it?
Signature: The Guinesso’s

Hellgrammite

Hellgrammite

Dear Mrs. Guinesso
This memorable insect is a Hellgrammite, the larva of a Dobsonfly, and they are generally found near water.  Hellgrammites are a favorite bait of freshwater anglers.  If this Hellgrammite creeped you out, you should be thankful you did not see a winged adult male Dobsonfly.  Despite his fearsome appearance, he is perfectly harmless.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination