mystery bug in Virginia
June 3, 2009
About 10 years ago in Amelia, VA I found a bug outside our camping tent. I did not have a camera at the time, so my description may be very vague. It was brown, about 3 inches long, and had large pinching mandibles that might resemble those of a stag beetle. Its wings were rather large, covered most of its body, and (if I remember correctly) were laid flat on its back in a triangular shape. They were not transparent and had a brown and black color pattern to them. I only got a brief glimpse of this scary-looking insect before I ran from it (I was only 9 at the time). I do recall seeing a preserved specimen of this same species at a zoo, and I think the name attached to it might have started with the letter D. As I’ve said before, my description is based off of a 10 year memory of a bug that I’ve only seen once. Any kind of identification or suggestion of what it could have been would be greatly appreciated, as I have been trying to find it online for the past few years.
Amelia, Virginia, USA
Both your excellent description and your drawing indicate that you saw a Dobsonfly ten years ago. We are sorry we were unable to respond when you wrote in June, as we were in Ohio visiting Mom. Upon our return, we had so much mail we ignored most of it until the past few day when we are responding to some requests at random. We are posting your letter and drawing to What’s That Bug?