June 14, 2010
I am eight years old and I was at a lake and being the bug lover that I am I brought this home. I found this guy under a rock in the water at our town lake. Can anyone tell me what the heck it is? He is really neat. You can see him breathing and everything. He is quite amazing. He has little bushes between his legs that flare out when he breathes. I have tried to do some research on my bug but cant seem to find out much. One article I found was a bug dating back 2,000 years. So I am really interested in finding out what he is.
What to grow up to be a bug man!
Dear future bug man,
This appears to be a Hellgrammite, the larval form of the fearsome Dobsonfly. Adults are harmless, though females may provide a painful pinch, like the larval Hellgrammites. Hellgrammites are a favored live bait for many freshwater anglers.
Update: September 2, 2010
Based on research for a new letter, we should indicate that the Hellgrammite in this photo is probably the Western Dobsonfly, Corydalus texana, a species that ranges west of the Rocky Mountains based on information posted to BugGuide.