Sunday, December 19, 2010

King Bug

The eastern dobsonfly is the one of the largest insects that we have in this area. Their large size, about 5 inches long from the tip of the wings to the tip of the mandibles, as well as their impressive tusks, especially on the males, have earned them the nickname of "King Bug". They spend much of their life underwater in their larval stage, hellgrammites. As hellgrammites they spend most of their time under rocks at the bottom of their watery home hunting other insect larvae.
You can tell that this is a female because she has short mandibles. The males can have mandibles that are up to about one inch long. They use these long mandibles for courtship displays and for holding on to their mates. Because they are so long the mandibles of the male do not have enough force to break a persons skin the females shorter mandibles however can lead to a painful bite. I photographed this dobsonfly at the Snake River.

7 comments:

GrandmaK said...

Looks like a jeweled pendent! Really lovely!! Cathy

Karen said...

Really beautiful shots...but ick, I wouldn't want thing to be too close to me.

Mike said...

Nice - when did you photograph it?

Maaike said...

a huge one!
great shot

Tulsa Gentleman said...

Dobson Flies are cool bugs. I had a big insect collection in high school (4-H Club) and the male Dobsons were one of the more impressive specimens. Along with Walking Sticks and Praying Mantis they look like alien creatures.

KaHolly said...

Wow, I don't think I've ever seen one before. I'll have to pay closer attention next time I'm near fresh water. Inch long mandibles...hmmmm...you'd think I'd notice THAT!

4timesblessed said...

Lovely shot. Interesting critter