What is this bug
Location:  Harrisburg, PA
August 20, 2010 9:17 pm
Your help in identifying this bug is appreciated.

Female Dobsonfly

Hi AP,
This is a female Dobsonfly.  The males and females can be easily distinguished from one another by the shape of the mandibles.  The species exhibits sexual dimorphism and the mandibles of the male are greatly developed and look like a pair of calipers.  Though they are greatly exaggerated in size, the mandibles of the male are incapable of inflicting a bite, though it is believed they are used in either courtship or mating.  We are still waiting for a photo that documents that statement though we cannot even remember where we first read it.  Though the female’s mandibles are smaller, they are more functional, and she is capable of delivering a painful bite that might even draw blood, though generally the bite would just produce a pinching sensation.  She has no venom.  Your photo captures her in a defensive posture.  Neither the male nor the female Dobsonfly feeds as an adult.

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