Unknown Northern California Bug
Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 3:06 PM
Hello. We live in Palo Alto, CA and have recently stumbled across this ugly bug. It is approximately an inch long, has what looks like a stinger, long wings, and a long neck. My husband thought it might be a sort of baby praying mantis, but after looking at it longer, we agree it must be something else. Does it sting is my question. We recently had a really bad gnat problem on our balcony and I feel like these bugs are living off of the dead gnats. Here is a picture, I hope it helps!
Concerned Stanford Family.
Palo Alto, California, USA
There is no cause for concern or alarm. This is a Snakefly in the insect order Raphidioptera. Both larval and adult Snakeflies are predators so they are beneficial insects. The “stinger” is actually the ovipositor of the female insect, and is used in the egg laying process. It is not an organ of defense and the Snakefly does not sting.