Subject: This bug made our Girl Scout jump!
Geographic location of the bug: Northern Virginia
Time: 09:07 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: We were on a hike and had to step up onto the path over this bug. Most of the girls thought it was very cool but some not so much! When we came through this same area two hours later, this bug was still hanging out. We’ve had no luck with the identification and hope you can help.
How you want your letter signed: Bean
Sorry but we can never respond to all the mail we get, but when folks send reminders, we try harder.
This is a male Dobsonfly, and despite his formidable looking mandibles, he is incapable of biting a human. He is perfectly harmless.
No worries on the timing! Thank you so much for the identification. Do you have a recommendation for a good ID book? We are working hard to instill in the campers to “Make Nature, Second Nature” so we appreciate your help!
Best to you,
Eric Eaton who frequently contributes to our site is the author of The Kaufman Guide to Insects of North America.