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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/large bug stick like body


Hi this insect had elongated black body approx 2.5 to 3 inches in length width of a stick bug ltwo sets of pinchers one set seemed at side of head the other set on top of head similar to an ants pinchers but much larger and black like rest of body.  Four transparent hind wings that were folded unseen until it took flight at which point wings on either side like a dragon fly.   Insect was vertical on sidewalk curb and when prodded insect reared upper segment backwards with pinchers moving  defensively like a crab.   I live in Potomac Maryland  watch nature shows since childhood and have never seen anything like this.  I I was wondering if it was native to north america and if anyway possible to identify with just my description. I  tried desperately to get a pic but its not too clear.

Hi, April:

Sounds like you might be describing a male Eastern Dobsonfly, Corydalus cornutus :

If the images in the link above don't match at all, then we can try again, but I don't know what else it *could* be offhand.


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Eric R. Eaton


I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.


Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

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One of the top 50 experts in all categories for, 2009.

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Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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