Currently viewing the category: "Hellgrammite"

Subject:  Active dobsonfly pupa
Geographic location of the bug:  Wilberforce, Ontario, Canada
Date: 07/08/2019
Time: 08:12 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi there! I’ve always enjoyed your site, and thought you might enjoy these photos from a video of a dobsonfly pupa in my garden (if you would like the video, I’m happy to share – just email me). I noticed it moving after watering the plants. I’ve never seen the pupal forms before (just larvae and adults most years) and wasn’t sure at first what was going on. But it seems to be re-packing the cell it made in the soil. Once it seemed to be finished, I placed a small bit of birch bark over the hole for a bit more cover. We live near a river in a woodland area, and this year had quite a number of hellgrammites emerge one day in the spring – 20 that we could see!
How you want your letter signed:  Erin

Dobsonfly Pupa, or pre-pupal Hellgrammite???

Dear Erin,
Thanks for sending in your images along with personal observations.  While we don’t contest that this is an immature Dobsonfly, we question perhaps that it might be a pre-pupal Hellgrammite that is preparing for metamorphosis rather than an actual Dobsonfly pupa.

Subject:  Prehistoric looking bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwestern PA
Date: 06/27/2019
Time: 01:25 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was fishing a larger river and went up to the road and noticed these bugs all over the place. They were smashed on the road and were trying to cross the road, from river bank to cornfield and vise versa. The bugs were between 3 and 7 inches long.
How you want your letter signed:  Joey


Hi Joey,
Did you catch many fish?  If not, nature provided you with an excellent bounty to change your luck.  The Hellgrammite, the larval form of the Dobsonfly, is a prized bait among freshwater anglers.

I knew they looked like hellgramites, but I didnt know they ventured out of the water like they did. Cool thank you for the quick reply.

We believe they leave the water to pupate.

Subject:  Bug indentification
Geographic location of the bug:  Georgia
Date: 05/06/2019
Time: 10:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Seen on a river bank in eastern central Georgia
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks, Randy


Dear Randy,
We love Hellgrammites, the aquatic larvae of the winged Dobsonfly.

We saw this on a fishing trip with my son. Thank you SO much for helping us identify it!!!

Subject:  Big weird bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Rhode Island
Date: 06/02/2018
Time: 08:24 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please tell me what this thing is because I am terrified
How you want your letter signed:  Enrique


Dear Enrique,
This is a Hellgrammite, the larval form of the Dobsonfly.  Both adults and larvae are quite fierce looking, but they have no venom and they are harmless to humans, though female Dobsonflies and Hellgrammites have powerful mandibles that might deliver a painful pinch.  Freshwater fishermen often use Hellgrammites for bait.

Thanks man! That’s crazy, when I saw it I had no idea what it was lol

Subject:  What is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  West slope of the Cascades, Washington.  Ele 2000 ft
Date: 03/25/2018
Time: 01:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Saw this walking on the snow.  Some kind of wood eater?  There is natural hot springs in the area.
How you want your letter signed:  Dylan Rhys

Fishfly Larva

Dear Dylan,
Because the critter in your image looks so similar to a Hellgrammite, we are concluding that it is a nymph in the same family, and that it is most likely the nymph of a Fishfly.  Unfortunately, there is not much visual documentation of the larvae of western species.  What excites us most about your submission is that we can tag your posting as a Snow Bug.

Fishfly Larva

Subject:  Underwater centipede??
Geographic location of the bug:  Alta, CA
Date: 12/08/2017
Time: 12:29 AM EDT
So, our house wraps around the remnants of a historic gold mine with access to the mine from a back door. There is a fresh water spring that flows from miles back, with several small, dammed pools about a quarter mile in. Today while spelunking, we crossed the path of a peculiar centipede looking insect below the water in a pool about 8 to 10 inches deep! He had a sort of swim/crawl movement and I’d say about 3 inches long and a half inch thick. Wondering if he’s a native ethereal dweller or some sort of astral crosser come to us from The Upsidedown.
How you want your letter signed:  the good people of InnerEarth

Aquatic Larva, probably Dobsonfly

Dear good people of InnerEarth,
This is an aquatic larva of a flying insect, and we are relatively certain it is a member of the family Corydalidae, which includes Dobsonflies and Fishflies.  The similar looking larva of the Eastern Dobsonfly is known as a Hellgrammite.  Here is a BugGuide image of a Fishfly larva.  Your larva might be that of a California Dobsonfly,
Neohermes californicus