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The Dobsonfly!

The Dobsonfly! I have been trying to get a picture of one of these for a long time....and this one was on a railing over a stream, so not the best position...but I now mainly take picutres f wild animals in situ.

Dobsonflies are a subfamily of insects, Corydalinae, so it is a general term and not a specific species....but I am reliably informed that this is Neoneuromus ignobilis. If you think this is scary, you should see the larvae, (commonly called hellgrammites) which are aquatic and live in streams.

They seem to have big pincers, but only the males have incredibly long jaws, and the only ones they will attack are other male dobsonflies. These lovely bugs are nocturnal and clumsy in flight, so people usually see them at night flopping around and they can seem intimidating..but really they are harmless. Dobsonflies live for less than two weeks in their adult form but can live for years as larvae in local streams and their appearance has been compared to a centipede. They have brown bodies with a large head, big mandibles and a segmented body. Each segment of their body has a set of legs and feathery gills.

The larvae's reliance on clean, fast-flowing streams with rocky bottoms makes them a good indicator of stream health. The worldwide decline in insect populations is cause for concern, and conservation efforts that help them and other bugs should be supported. Insects are often the base of the food chain and an essential indicator of the health of local ecosystems. Unless you - like me - are frequently wandering near a stream at night (in this case Tai Mo Shan), it's unlikely you'll encounter an adult dobsonfly. If you do, be thankful for the opportunity and know it is a sign of clean water. Enjoy the occasion, and hope that your grandchildren will have the same opportunity.


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