Currently viewing the category: "Hellgrammite"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

6 legs, large jaws, spikes over a long body
Location: Riverdale NJ (northest US)
May 19, 2011 7:36 am
Dear Bug,
I found this odd looking bug alog some railroad ties out back. He was very agressive (opening jaws) as we managed to catch him. I’ve never seen anything like this and was hoping you can identify his species and if we need be concerned of our son and his friends playing out back. Thanks, Bugfinder
Signature: Paul
Thank you!  Forgot to mention he/she is exactly 3 inches log from tip of jaw to end of tail!

Hellgrammite

Hi Paul,
This is a Hellgrammite, the larval form of the Dobsonfly.  Despite all of our efforts, we have been unable to trace the origin of the name Hellgrammite, which nonetheless seems a very appropriate name for this unforgettable insect.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

what type of water bug is this?
Location: Mariposa, California (Sierra Nevada)
May 12, 2011 12:03 am
Found this in our creek and called it a water centipede because it resembles a regular centipede so much. It has pretty big mandibles and tried to give a bite when picked out of the water.
Rarely ever see these around here. What is it?
Signature: Aiden

Hellgrammite

Hi Aiden,
You have encountered the predatory larva of one of the members of the family Corydalidae, the Dobsonflies and Fishflies.  The larva of the Eastern Dobsonfly is known as a Hellgrammite, and though this is not the Eastern Dobsonfly, we feel the common name Hellgrammite should still apply.  We will try to determine the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scaley bug with pinchers on head?
Location: Hector, Arkansas
May 2, 2011 2:05 am
We ran across this bug at a Girl Scout campout. It cause quite the commotion as it was in one of the bath houses and most of the little girls wanted to squish it. (No, we did not allow that!) Other girls were facinated by this creepy crawly. All of us adults just want to know what is that big?
Thanks for any help you can give.
Signature: ~Jen from Arkansas

Hellgrammite

Hi Jen,
This formidable larva is known as a Hellgrammite, and it will eventually metamorphose into the fierce looking, bug harmless Dobsonfly, a flying giant with substantial mandibles.  You can find countless images of both Dobsonflies and Hellgramites on our website including this one.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Nymph
Location: Cochise County, Arizona
February 14, 2011 8:15 pm
Dear Bugdude,
A friend took these photos and gave me permission to send them in. She photographed the nymph in a stream in the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona, it was about 2 – 2 1/2 inches in lenght. I’ve searched and searched the internet and cannot seem to locate a photo to identify this nymph.
Signature: Huh?

Hellgrammite

Dear Huh?,
This appears to be a Hellgrammite, the larva of a Dobsonfly or Fishfly in the family Corydalidae which you may compare to this image on BugGuide.  Most of our images of Hellgrammites are from the Eastern Dobsonfly,
Corydalus cornutus, and BugGuide does not report them any further west than Texas, however, BugGuide does report a genus member being sighted in Arizona, and the information page on the genus on BugGuide does list four species, with this information:  “Corydalus texana – SW US west of the Rocky Mountains” and “Corydalus bidenticulatus – Arizona” indicating that this individual may be either of those species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Scary River Centipede
Location: Cahaba River, AL
December 13, 2010 12:45 am
Dear Bugman,
I looked through many pictures, but because I am scared of things with so many legs I felt sick. All I can do is ask, what kind of bug is this? I found it while swimming in the Cahaba River by my Grandmothers house near Birmingham, Alabama in July.
It was found inside the river and swam kind of fast…well, it squirmed through the water fast. The creature is four or five inches long. I was wondering if it might be what bit my foot while I was swimming the week before? The picture is what I got when I scooped it up with my cousin’s swim mask.
Signature: Grossed out Nursing Student

Hellgrammite

Dear Grossed out Nursing Student,
Though it looks very much like a Centipede, this Hellgrammite is actually an insect larva.  Imagine the winged adult male with saber-like mandibles an inch long, and you will have some idea of what the adult Dobsonfly looks like.  Hellgrammites can bite, and the bite might even draw blood, but the fierce looking creature is actually harmless.  Fishermen relish them as bait.  When he was researching his book, Daniel tried unsuccessfully to uncover the origin of the word Hellgrammite, but even without an origin, the name seems appropriate for this fascinating insect.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Centipede-like bug with pincers?
Location:  Utah
September 2, 2010 1:26 am
I have been searching long and hard for a site where I could ask about a bug I found, so here goes!
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture (but I drew it? haha) of it since I was too frightened to catch it and I didnt have my camera with me at the time.
It was also very dark when I found it and I was in a river… I was swimming around, looking for tadpoles and frogs. And then much to my horror I shined my flashlight upon something that was definitely neither of those.
I can’t remember exactly what it looked like but it had a very long centipede-like body with a lot of legs like one. I think it was white and black (but it was nighttime, and I wasn’t really paying attention to its color for obvious reasons) and it was coming out from under a rock. So it obviously lives in the water. And it had very sharp needle-like pincers that curved in and looked like it could chop your finger off if it got close enough.
I’ve looked everywhere for one. All over the internet, and I can’t seem to find anything that looks even remotely close to it. I really wish I had taken a picture of it! Does something like this exist? Or is it some freak science-experiment gone wrong?
I’m sorry, I wish I had a better explanation of what it looked like (and a better drawing!). The next day I went back hoping to catch it but I didn’t see it anywhere. Of course it only shows up when it isn’t wanted.
Signature:  Maddie

Possibly a Hellgrammite

Hi Maddie,
We were quite certain based on your drawing and your letter that you had an encounter with a Hellgrammite, the aquatic larva of a Dobsonfly, but we began to question that theory when we realized your sighting was in Utah.  The commonly encountered Eastern Dobsonfly does not range to Utah, but there are three other species that occur in western states.  According to BugGuide:
“The only eastern species is Eastern Dobsonfly,
Corydalus cornutus. Three other species apparently have very limited distribution in North America:
Corydalus luteus – South Texas
Corydalus texana – SW US west of the Rocky Mountains
Corydalus bidenticulatus – Arizona
Genus is restricted to the New World–other species in Central and South America
.”
We were unable to locate an image of a Western Dobsonfly,
Corydalus texana, but a web search did lead us to a trout fishing page with a photograph of a Dobsonfly and a nice description.  The God of Insects website also has some information.  We are posting your letter with an image of the Hellgrammite of an Eastern Dobsonfly as we imagine the western counterpart must look very similar.

Hellgrammite

Interestingly, we did notice that one of our earlier postings is from Colorado, which would indicate there is a strong possibility that image is of Corydalus texana.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination