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Any of various insects of the subfamily Corydalinae, especially Corydalus cornutus of eastern North America, having two pairs of large, many-veined wings and in the male long, pincerlike mandibles.


n, pl -flies
(Animals) US and Canadian a large North American neuropterous insect, Corydalis cornutus: the male has elongated horn-like mouthparts and the larva (a hellgrammite or dobson) is used as bait by anglers: suborder Megaloptera. See also hellgrammite
[C20: origin uncertain, perhaps after the surname Dobson]


(ˈdɒb sənˌflaɪ)

n., pl. -flies.
a very large, soft-bodied neuropteran insect, Corydalus cornutus, commonly seen in fluttery flight above streams, noted for its abundant aquatic larvae. Compare hellgrammite.
[1900–05; appar. after surname Dobson]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.dobsonfly - large soft-bodied insect having long slender mandibles in the male; aquatic larvae often used as bait
neuropteran, neuropteron, neuropterous insect - insect having biting mouthparts and four large membranous wings with netlike veins
Corydalus, genus Corydalus, genus Corydalis, Corydalis - type genus of the Corydalidae
References in periodicals archive ?
Mating behavior of Platyneuromus (Megaloptera: Corvdalidae), with life history notes on dobsonflies from Mexico and Costa Rica.
If you enjoy fishing, you may be familiar with the huge, sickle-jawed gray dobsonflies often seen fluttering over water or perched along the sides of rivers and streams.
syrphid flies vs large beetles, dobsonflies, mantids, etc.