Fishflies are part of the Alderfly and Dobsonfly group of winged insects. They are generally noticed for their large size, color and seemingly uncoordinated flight approach. They have jaws (mandibles) that have saw-like teeth and long feathery antennae. Their wings are as long, or longer than, their bodies and fold tightly, one-over-the-other, when closed. Veins on the wings cover the wings as well as splotches of coloration.
Males use their jaws to fight over females. Females lay hundreds of fertilized eggs above the water on low-hanging branches or plants. Larvae hatch and drop into the water. They are found hanging around vegetation near moving water, while adults can be found resting on dwellings nearby.
Activity is mostly seen at night during the late spring and throughout the summer. Adult Fishflies pull aquatic insects (naiads of dragonflies, water beetles, etc,) out of the water and eat them. They will also eat worms, small bivalves (clams, mussels) and algae. Adults are very drawn to lights at night.
Category: Alderfly or Dobsonfly
Common name: Fishfly
Scientific Name: Chauliodes pectinicornis.
Adult Size (Length): 30mm to 50mm (1.18in to 1.97in) COMPARE
Identifying Colors: black; gray; brown
General Description: feathery, large, antennae, flying, jaws
North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.