Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, January 02, 2012

When is a Stonefly not a Stonefly? Ask Mr Dobson.

Well, the first problem is that nobody seems to know who Mr Dobson is or was.
  • "References to the names "dobson" and "hellgrammite" (both referring to the larvae) date back at least to the late 1800's, but to date there is only speculation as to the actual origin of these names" (Source: Wikipedia)
But according to convention I shall stick with the established name "Dobsonfly" for this insect.
CSIRO ILLUSTRATION OF A DOBSONFLY - Archichauliodes sp., adult

I did say that this "sighting" occurred at a New Year's Eve party, which accounts for the very fine shoes and stockings in the image. But trust me, they are incidental to the real story - the identification of the insect. No discussion nor comments will be entertained, except re the insect. Foot Fetishists are not welcome here.

In this image you can clearly see the long antennae raised up over the head.
Then there is the long neck, with two orange coloured sections.
Then the semi-transparent wings with grey spots on them.
A Dobsonfly - found at a party.

Dobsonfly showing the neck, with 3 legs visible.
In this next image kindly ignore the "masking off"
I had to engage in here.
It served to remove the underneath of a shoe
upon which the insect was crawling.
The image of the sole of the shoe 
was so bright (owing to the Flash used)
that everything else in the image was barely viewable.
With a little help from Photoshop 
I have been able to tone the image down somewhat.

You can at least see the Dobsonfly's lower abdomen
- the yellow, soft body -
(under its wings - the long grey objects above the body) 

This image is useful, if "weird". The abdomen clearly lacks any "filaments"
The point of that image is to demonstrate that 
this insect's "rear end" does not have any 
long "filaments" protruding out the back
So, it is not a Stonefly.

This next image was an attempt to check the mandibles.
Only partially successful.
But BugGuide shows me that males of at least some species of Dobsonflies
have large "pincer-like mandibles" held straight out in front.
This one clearly does not have those, 
So I conclude that this is probably a female.
You can also check this image from Wikipedia.
Female Dobsonfly, with small mandibles. My hand - for scale purposes.

Many thanks to James who had his Mobile Phone Camera at the ready.
He professes not to be an Entomological Photographer
But in truth, he did  a better job 
than I was able to do (without my camera).

What's that old adage, Denis?
Never leave home without your camera!
I chose not to take it to a New Years Eve Party 
(for good and sensible reasons)
But I should have at least had it safely stowed away in the car.
Never leave home without your camera, Denis!
Three years ago I wrote about Stonefly larvae I found on the local sandstone plateaux. I included in that post an image of what I then believed was an adult Stonefly.
Having seen this Dobsonfly (above) and photographed it from several angles, and compared those images with a host of other CSIRO and other Internet sources, I now conclude that my supposed Stonefly image, was in fact, almost certainly  a Dobsonfly.
Dobsonfly, not a Stonefly, as first thought.


Snail said...

That's a nice find, Denis. I hope the shoe's owner wasn't too surprised by such a large insect turning up.

Oh, yes, always take a camera. It's almost guaranteed that no camera means a good sighting. I have yet to learn that!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Bronwen
I promised not to talk about the shoe owner.
Suffice to say that she did not mind it on her shoes, but objected strenuously when it flew into her hair.
Re the camera, I think there is a photographic equivalent of Murphy's Law in there somewhere.
Anything worth photographing is more likely to appear if you do not have the camera with you.

Tyto Tony said...

Only an old pedant would suggest it's Sod's Law in play, rather than the
programmatic specificity of Captain Murphy USAF.

Denis Wilson said...

I like the rustic sound of "Sod's Law".