Our First Dobsons Fly !!!
My wife and I came home to this strange creature last evening resting on the inside of our garage door. We live in north central Iowa about 30 minutes south of the Minnesota border. Never seen such a frightening looking bug!!! Had no idea what it was!! We called our local nature center and they tried to convince us that that it was an Earwig. Seen too many of those to know better and the mandibles were on the wrong end anyway!!! I just wasn’t buying that so after a long while browsing the internet and every imaginable entomology sight we could think of we finally stumbled across your terrific web page and soon had the answer we were looking for. **** DOBSON FLY – Female!!!***** This girl measured 2 3/4" long from the tip of the mandibles to the end of the wings. The wing span was almost 4" when open. She had quite an attitude and would put on an amazing display of courage if you got to close. Sent along some digital photos for you. One of our local university entomology web sights described how to refrigerate the specimen for about an hour making very sure not to freeze her. This worked amazingly well to slow this fiery beast down so we could get some close-ups. The photos were done quickly and then we took her outside and rested her in a bush outside our living room window. She warmed quickly in the 80+ degree morning sun and was back to her marauding self in a matter of seconds. When last seen she was working her way deep into the center of the bush and when we checked this evening she was gone. Never seen anything like this in my almost 50 years of living in this area!!! What a amazingly horrifying treat she was!!! Your photos of the males are even more ferocious. Thanks for a great informational web sight. We will check back often.
Mike and Diane K.
Hi Mike and Diane,
What a wonderful letter. The female Dobsonfly is more aggressive than the male despite his formidible looking mandibles. Apparently his jaws serve some mating purpose that we can only cringe at. The female uses her more manageable mandibles not to eat, since adults do not eat, but to defend herself against anything that tries to eat her before she can lay eggs. Thanks for the great photos as well.