Molting Creature Haunting My Dreams
Location: Upstate New York
June 17, 2011 9:48 pm
This molting insect was found in my garden (June 16) buried in the soil. I accidentally unearthed it, and I must say that it totally freaked me out! It literally haunted my dream that night. Unfortunately, although I tried to cover it back up, when I revisited it the next day, it had died. I’m just curious about what it could be? It looks like a dragonfly nymph to me, but it was definitely in the dirt. Not sure if this is a good enough picture for identification, but I would rest more easily knowing that it was not actually the creature from the Alien movies!
Signature: Molly

What's That Bug??? Dobsonfly maybe

Hi Molly,
We really wish you had more detail in your photo.  We seem to be getting more requests than usual this morning that we cannot identify.  How large is it?  The mandibles are the only really discernible feature, indicating that this is not a moth.  Sphinx Moths are often found pupating in gardens.  It is not a dragonfly either.  They undergo incomplete metamorphosis.  Though beetles have mandibles, we don’t believe this is a beetle.  Our best guess is that perhaps this is a female Dobsonfly.  See this photo on BugGuide of a female Dobsonfly.

Thanks for your reply.  I wish I’d gotten a better picture of the poor guy (gal?).  It was approximately 3 – 3 1/2 inches long – big!  And it may not be clear in the picture, but it had double wings.  The molted skin had two sets of small (1 1/2 cm?) wings, and the new ones appeared larger.  When I found it, it was just under the surface of the soil.  Not sure if that helps.
I love your site – thanks for the good work!

Hi again Molly,
Thanks for the compliment.  All that you have added supports our belief that this is a female Dobsonfly.

Hi Daniel,
So, guess what?!? I was doing some more gardening this afternoon and found what looks to be another one of these creatures, but at a less mature stage.  I was able to get more photos of it (attached).
Definitely a Dobsonfly?

Pupa of a Dobsonfly

Hi Molly,
This is definitely the pupa of a Dobsonfly.

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Location: New York

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