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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Dragonfly/moth/cranefly/mosquito bug

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Hi Eric-

Much appreciation for any help identifying this 3"-4" long "bug" sited in a Victorian neighborhood in Cincinnati OH @ 3:30 pm on 8/8/14. Truly the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, however, I can't even figure out if it is a Dragonfly, moth, cranefly or mosquito.  It was flying around my side porch's hanging fuscias (with wings strait out of it's body like a dragonfly). It bumped into me awkwardly -I ducked, thinking it might be a giant mega mosquito.  It landed on a vertical surface- and has an awkward leggy look that folds itself up with the most beautiful wings hanging down it's backside. Please see sketch.

Answer
Dear Maureen:

How delightful to get your question and the wonderful sketch accompanying the query!

I lived in Cincinnati from 1988-1999, but was never fortunate enough to see the beauty that you are describing.  I *did* finally find them when I moved to Missouri....

The creature is an adult antlion, Glenurus gratus :

http://bugguide.net/node/view/26625

They are completely harmless as adult insects.  The larvae bury themselves in loose sand or powdery soil and wait for other insects to pass by.  They then lunge and grab the victim in their huge jaws.  So, they are predatory as larvae, but may not even feed at all as adults.

Some antlions are attracted to outdoor lights at night, while others are most active at dusk and can be found in tall grass where they flutter weakly looking for mates.

Thanks so much for sharing your discovery :-)

Sincerely,

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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