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?
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.