Currently viewing the category: "Snakeflies"
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Subject: Is this a mantisfly?
Location: www.google.de/maps/place/Oberschwäbisches+Museumsdorf+Kürnbach/@50.856122,8.1137543,5.25z/data=!4m6!1m3!3m2!1s0x0:0x1a12f9df180e6811!2sOberschwäbisches+Museumsdorf+Kürnbach!3m1!1s0x0:0x1a12f9df180e6811
August 16, 2015 3:00 am
Hi,
I found this bug in front of a farm house in southern germany in july. I had never seen such an insect before so i took the foto. It looks as if it is hevily injured which would explain that it stood still quite long.
It somehow looks like a mantisfly but all pictures of mantisflies occuring in Germany I could find look diffferent so I decided to ask you for help.
Thank you very much
Signature: Roland

Snakefly

Snakefly

Dear Roland,
Although it looks somewhat similar to a Mantisfly, your insect is a Snakefly that is classified in a completely different insect order, Raphidioptera.  According to BugGuide:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods.”

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Subject: insect id
Location: urban area nj
May 28, 2015 12:27 pm
May 27 2015 in new jersey. Just curious :)
Signature: Stephanie

Snakefly

Snakefly

Dear Stephanie,
Almost all the images we have posted of Snakeflies in the order Raphidioptera are sent from California. 

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Subject: Strange bug
Location: northern California
April 17, 2015 12:39 am
it is April and i was Northern California. To be more specific the north Bay Area the day I found the big. I was relaxing in a friends backward when it landed on one of the chair pillows we were sitting near. He looks like a dragon fly praying mantis and wasp mixed in one with really cool coloring. I’ve never seen anything of this nature and was very curious to know more about this insect.
Signature: Ariana

Snakefly

Snakefly

Dear Ariana,
This interesting insect is a Snakefly in the order Raphidioptera, and though BugGuide shows them ranging west of the Mississippi River, nearly all of our reported sightings are from California.
  Snakeflies are harmless predators and BugGuide reports that:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods.”  What appears to be a stinger in your image is actually the ovipositor of a female, an organ used in the laying of eggs.  It is also notable that most images we receive are of female Snakeflies, and we are not certain if they are more plentiful than males, or if the presence of the ovipositor makes them more of a curiosity, or if the ovipositor is a cause of concern prompting people to be more inclined to discover if they are a stinging insect that might be harmful to humans.

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Subject: Mystery bug hiding on lupine
Location: Sunol-Ohlone Wilderness, CA
April 15, 2015 7:31 pm
I was taking a photo of the bee on the lupine, and only noticed later the insect that was upside down on the stalk. I have no idea what it is, can you please help me identify it?
Signature: R. Battaglia

Solitary Bee shares Lupine with Snakefly

Solitary Bee shares Lupine with Snakefly

Dear R. Battaglia,
The insect hiding along the stalk of the lupine is a Snakefly, in the order Raphidioptera, and according to BugGuide:  “Both larvae and adults are predatory, though they are capable of catching and killing only small and weak prey. Snakefly larvae feed on eggs and larvae of various insects, as well as adults of minute arthropods (e.g. mites, springtails, barklice, and homopterans). Adults typically prefer aphids but may eat a wide variety of arthropods.”
  Though females possess an ovipositor that resembles a stinger, Snakeflies are harmless to humans.  We are very curious about your Solitary Bee because of our interest our own in native pollinators and their relationship to native plants.  This may be a Leafcutter Bee in the genus Megachile, and BugGuide has many subgenera represented, but alas, we would need input from someone with more experience to provide a definitive identification.

Dear Mr. Marlos,
Thank you for the Snakefly ID.  Regarding the bee, although that particular picture was taken in Sunol, I do have a healthy population of leafcutters in my yard in Pleasanton, as evidenced by the many notched leaves of my Redbud.  I’ve had a fabulous collection of native pollinators in my yard this year!
Thanks again,
Robyn

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Subject: ufb
Location: Crockett, ca
March 17, 2015 2:27 am
Hi, this morning I went into my living room & this bug was just sitting on my blinds. I’ve never seen one like it before. It didn’t scare easily, as I put my camera pretty close, it didn’t budge. I didn’t kill it, but I was a bit worried about the stinger on his backside. What do you think?
Signature: c meyers

Snakefly

Snakefly

Dear c meyers,
This is a harmless Snakefly in the order Raphidioptera.  Your individual is a female as evidenced by her long ovipositor.  Snakeflies are beneficial predators that will neither sting nor bite a human.

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Subject: Larvae found in bed
Location: Southern Oregon
December 10, 2014 6:55 pm
This was found on the pillow. Any idea what it might be?
Signature: Will

Snakefly Larva

Snakefly Larva

Dear Will,
We believe this is a harmless, predatory Snakefly Larva.  See this image on BugGuide for comparison.

Thank you!  That would make sense because looking at the link you included, we do have those insects flying around the front door at night.  One must have gotten in the house and completed its lifecycle.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination