Subject: Possibly a female Eastern Dobson fly ?
Geographic location of the bug: Virginia – Northern VA rainy night
Time: 11:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: This seems to match the female Eastern dobson fly photos best, if the wing patterns can be variable and the lovely orange middle part to the antenna is permissible, except the mouth parts are not quite as large as usually shown on female dobson flies (I could not get a good mouth photo as she was so tight to the concrete and fidgety) and she was under two inches which seems small except it’s likely posted photos are often the exceptional and impressive individuals (thus the prevalence of male dobson photos)… so what bothers me is Mainly the abdomen seems much longer and somewhat more slender than any of the dobson photos. That last detail has me concerned that it’s some closely related insect and not exactly a dobson. Relative body length seems to be a somewhat odd thing to have be so variable… Thank you so much for the time and attention that goes into this entire web site. It’s super helpful and always fascinating!
How you want your letter signed: My insect collection is all photos
This is an Antlion, not a female Dobsonfly and we believe we have identified it as a Spotted Winged Antlion, Dendroleon obsoletus, thanks to images on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Large, with black circular spots on wings–distinctive in much of range. Antennae slightly clubbed, with pointed tips, often (or always?) pinkish in the middle (based on photos in the guide)” and “Adults often come to lights.” Because of your image based insect collection (which we are guessing is a class project) we are tagging your submission with the Bug Humanitarian Award. We have gotten both praise and grief in the past for not identifying some requests because we believe students need to learn to do research, but since your submission contained an actual attempt at identification, we have relaxed our policy on doing homework.
Wow! Thank you! I really was off… No, my image based bug collection is Not a “class project” – I’m 63 and although life can certainly include (and really should) prolonged or never-ending education, I’m not enrolled in any college classes anymore. I just like bugs – you can relate no doubt! I do carry spiders outside and never squish a smaller critter, but my award is undeserved in this case, not being a student (except life-long)…
Wanted to be an entomologist when I was a kid, became a psychologist, and yet I still love the insect types of “buggies”… Again, many thanks for the correction and I’ll make that correction on my photo title.