Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A New Bug for Me: Summer Fishfly

We caught a cool new bug at our park today. It was almost 2 inches long and at first glance I thought it was a female Dobsonfly . After looking up some info on Dobsonflies, I realized this one's antennae were very different. They were comb-like and similar to a moth's antennae. After a little more exploring on various bug internet sites I came up with this ID: Summer Fishfly, Chauliodes pectinicornis. It is a cousin to the Dobsonfly; both are in the family Cordalidae, so that is why it looks so similar.

Above is a closeup of the head with the pectinate, or comb-like, feathery antennae.

The larvae look very similar to hellgrammites, the aquatic larvae of the Dobsonfly that are a favorite bait of many fishermen. They are aquatic and live in calm bodies of water with lots of muck and dead leaves. They will eat plant material and are predatory on minnows, tadpoles and aquatic insects. . The larvae will leave the water to pupate under bark and inside rotting logs. This process takes approximately 10 days. Adults emerge to mate and live only about a week. Eggs are laid in masses on vegetation near ponds and vernal pools. The larvae will hatch and crawl to water.

And just because it is such a cool looking bug, I will include a pic of the male Dobsonfly. It looks ominous, but the pinchers are only used to grasp the female during mating. I am very glad I am not a female Dobsonfly! Photo by John Howard.


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