Is it dangerous?
Location: Massachusetts
July 12, 2011 3:47 am
Hi! While one of my friends was out fishing this bug ended up on his neck. When he went to get it off his neck it had stung his finger and left 2 holes with a little blood. He says it doesn’t hurt and I’m just wondering if yoou could help us identify it?
Signature: Just wondering

Dragonfly Naiad

Dear Just wondering,
This is the aquatic larva of a Dragonfly, known as a naiad.  We have not received any previous reports of a person being bitten by a Dragonfly Naiad, but considering the anatomy of its mouth including an extendable mandible, this is entirely possible.  Here is how the University of Kentucky Entomology website describes the eating habits of a Dragonfly Naiad:  “The aquatic naiads feed voraciously on minnows, tadpoles, aquatic insects, and other small, live prey.  Dragonfly naiads are primarily ambush predators: they find a strategic spot on an underwater leaf or under a rock.  When a victim gets close, the naiad snags it with harpoon-like extendable jaws.”  Dragonflies are not venomous, and the bite, though it caused some discomfort, is not dangerous.

Location: Massachusetts

6 Responses to Bitten by a Dragonfly Naiad

  1. crazygirl0621 says:

    He wasn’t bitten by the mouth of it, the two stinger like things on the end are what went into his finger. It stuck on him enough for him to clearly see that was what got into the skin.

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for the clarification. Those projections are not stingers. Perhaps they are spines that discourage getting swallowed by a fish.

  2. Jessi says:

    My mother and a friend of mine have both been “bitten” by a Dragonfly Naiad, and now the two of them are scared to death of Dragonflies. The spine theory makes perfect sense to me. Evolution has given all kinds of creatures many wonderful and interesting defenses so they can survive their predators. Fish will often eat anything anyway (hence why people can fish with fishing hooks) but I’m sure a few pricks with those spines during the eating process, would discourage the fish from finishing its “tasty” meal.

  3. Jane says:

    In the UK we call the naiads ‘nymphs’, which are just about the same thing anyway – a naiad was a Greek freshwater nymph, or minor deity. That aside, I also have suffered a ‘bite’ from one of these beasties when I was a child. Used to love investigating the garden pond and handling the creatures I found. I had what I now know to be a Darter (Is that the same as you call ” Darners”? ) nymph on the back of my hand when it ‘bit’ me with a sharp pinch-like sensation, that did not carry on hurting like a sting would but was certainly enough to make me yell and brush it from my hand.

  4. Hayden says:

    Hey I just got bit by one, he bit me on my toe, but he like but me so hard that it’s been twenty minutes and it still stings, idk if I should be worried or not, he didn’t break the skin just the outside is abit broken in.

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