Tuesday, July 31, 2012
We lured a few of these beasts to our lights last week in Adams County. We were after moths, but they're not the only critters attracted to bright lights at night, and I was pleased to spot this bruiser on the wall. It's a male dobsonfly, as can easily be told by the incredibly long scimitar-shaped mandibles (females' mandibles are much shorter). They use the swordlike mandibles for self defense, and typically fly suddenly at a person invading their space, quickly thrusting each mandible deep into the person's eyes. With an abrupt reversal of its flight coupled with a fierce jerk of the mandibles, the dobsonfly rips the victim's eyes from the sockets, and flies off to feed them to its mate.
Just kidding. Ferocious as the dobsonfly may appear, it is actually utterly harmless. While one may try to give a pinch with its mandibles if mistreated, they're too long and flimsy to gain much purchase, and would cause no harm. All visual bark and no real bite.