Subject: Metallica meets dragonfly or damselfly?
Geographic location of the bug: Shenandoah Valley VA
Time: 10:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello. I cannot Google up other photos to help me identify this insect with the body of a dragonfly but wings that fold back. The wings start clear but then end with a bold black and white pattern.
How you want your letter signed: C in VA
Dear C in VA,
Your subject line really caught our attention. This gorgeous Antlion is Glenurus gratus, which you can verify on BugGuide.
It’s an ant lion really?! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised given how many “doodlebug” pits there are in the dirt floor of the shed and barn at this property we visited. I’ve just never had the fortune to see an adult. How lucky I am to have had this brief encounter. He? She? is an elegantly gorgeous insect. Thanks for lending me your expertise.
Hi again C in VA,
While you are correct that the larvae of Antlions are commonly called Doodlebugs, and that many Doodlebugs lie in the bottom of sandy pits with only their mandibles exposed waiting for luckless insects to fall in, of Glenurus gratus according to BugGuide: “Larvae found in tree holes among sawdust and in burrows of Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus.”