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Fishfly (Chauliodes pectinicornis.)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Fishfly, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 1/15/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

Picture of Fishfly
Picture of Fishfly Picture of Fishfly

A Fishfly doesn't eat fish, but the small aquatic insects and plant matter that reside in water.

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.

Picture of the Fishfly
Picture of the Fishfly

Fishfly Information

Category: Alderfly or Dobsonfly
Common Name: Fishfly
Scientific Name: Chauliodes pectinicornis.

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Megaloptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Corydalidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Chauliodes
       Arrow graphic Species: pectinicornis.

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 30 mm to 50 mm (1.17 inches to 1.95 inches)
Identifying Colors: black; gray; brown
Additional Descriptors: feathery, large, antennae, flying, jaws

North American Territorial 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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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