What is this insect?

Asked June 1, 2018, 8:27 PM EDT

What is this? Did I imagine it or could it have given me a little sting on the neck? I've seen several, like on the outside of windows. I'm new to Western Colorado and had never seen these before. Sorry the pictures aren't better.


Delta County Colorado

3 Responses

Hmmm. That is an odd insect known as a snakefly. Not all that common an insect to see, and they are usually found in areas of conifer forests. Finding several is very unusual.

Close relatives are antlions and lacewings (Order Neuroptera).

As both adults (which this is) and larvae they are predators of other insects - small insects such as aphids and small caterpillars.

As for bites, I would doubt that they could produce a noticeable bite, but if they do it would be barely noticeable. They have small jaws for chewing small things and could not do much to human skin.

Females have a long "stinger-like" organ on the hind end. It is used to insert eggs into crevices, usually in rotten wood. It has no venom gland associated and is not used as a stinger for defense - it is harmless.

Interesting observation.

Whitney, Thank you for solving my mystery. I had never seen anything like it. Lately I've been seeing more than a couple of them especially on the outside of windows, total maybe 10-12, which seems a lot for an uncommon insect. One landed on my arm a couple days ago when I was mowing the lawn. I'm located about 20 minutes south of the top of the Grand Mesa National Forest which, I guess, makes sense if it is usually found near conifer forests. Would you want me to try to collect any for you? Thanks again.

Thanks for the offer of collections, but I think there are enough in the CSU Museum, which is where I would put them.

Also, this is a kind of insect that, if I were to try and collect it, I would be unsuccessful. They sort of have to find you.

A cool bug.