dobsonfly

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dobsonfly

dobsonfly, common name for a group of insects of the order Megaloptera, found throughout E North America. The adults may be 5 in. (12.7 cm) long; the male has mandibles half as long as the body. They are soft-bodied insects with a fluttery flight, and are largely nocturnal. Despite their strong jaws, the adults probably do not eat, living only long enough to lay large egg masses near water. The large aquatic larvae, called hellgrammites and much used by fishermen as bait, feed on aquatic insects for three years and then emerge to pupate on land. The closely related alderflies differ from the dobsonflies in their smaller size and diurnal habits. Dobsonflies are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Neuroptera, family Corydalidae.
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When the time comes, hellgrammites leave the water for good, crawling onto land, and pupating in a damp area, such as under rocks or logs.
Desert suckers and hellgrammites had relatively narrow diets (B = 0.36 and 0.42, respectively), predominantly composed of amorphous detritus.
These results indicate a high degree of dietary overlap of hellgrammites with two species of native fish, with moderate overlap among other taxa.
Incidence of chironomid phoretics on hellgrammites in streams of southern Maine.
My favorite baits were hellgrammites (the larva of the Dobsonfly) for trout and soft-shelled crayfish for bass.
Larvae of the dobsonfly, commonly known as hellgrammites, inhabit small rocky streams throughout North America.
"While many of the small-bodied minnow and sunfish species support the food web here, insects are also an important component, including giant hellgrammites often preferred by large panfish and smallmouths," Richards said.
Dobsonfly larva - Hellgrammites grow up to three inches long, reflecting three years of growth in the aquatic stage.
Dobsonfly - The adult form of the aquatic hellgrammite. Dobsonflies have a wingspan of up to five inches, but are awkward fliers.
Two of the most common groups of predators in the benthic food web of the SLR are creeping water bugs (Hemiptera: Naucoridae) and hellgrammites (Megaloptera: Corydalidae).
Believe it or not, young dobsonflies are called hellgrammites. Isn't that a great name for a monster?
If you are fishing a river for smallmouths, look for hellgrammites under rocks in shallow water, a great bait when hooked under the collar.