Entomology (Study of Bugs)/strange flying insect

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Question
strange insect
strange insect  
Can you tell me what this is?
Picture taken in north Georgia.

Answer
Hi, Phil:

Thank you for including the image with your question.  It leaves no doubt as to what they are....

The insects are male "dobsonflies," Corydalus cornutus .  The larval stage is the aquatic "hellgrammite," prized as bait by fishermen.  The larvae live under stones in fast-flowing rivers and streams where they prey on other aquatic invertebrates.  Here is more:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/4873

Note that the males are pretty intimidating-looking, but relatively harmless.  Females have "normal" jaws, but can inflict a very painful bite if handled.  Otherwise, both genders are harmless novelties that are attracted to outdoor lights at night.

Thanks for sharing your find!

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Publications
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.

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

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
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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