Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


The large brownish aquatic larva of the dobsonfly, often used as fishing bait. Also called dobson.

[Probably hell (from its painful bite ) + -grammite, of unknown meaning and origin.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(ˈhɛlɡrəˌmaɪt) or


(Animals) US the larva of the dobsonfly, about 10 cm long with biting mouthparts: used as bait for bass. Also called: dobson
[C19: of unknown origin]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈhɛl grəˌmaɪt)

the aquatic larva of a dobsonfly, used as bait in fishing.
[1865–70, Amer.; orig. uncertain]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Adult bass also feed on large insect larvae that live on the bottom, notably the hellgrammite, a larval dobsonfly that reaches 4 inches and inhabits flowing waters with gravelly substrate.
We collected nymphs of stoneflies (Perlodidae) and larval hellgrammite (Corydalidae) from four sites in the Gila River, New Mexico, in February and June during 2008-2010.
Dobsonfly - The adult form of the aquatic hellgrammite. Dobsonflies have a wingspan of up to five inches, but are awkward fliers.
Food habits of hellgrammite larvae, Corydalus cornutus (Megaloptera: Corydalidae), in the Brazos River, Texas.
Hellgrammites live under rocks in shallow, fast-moving water.
Dobsonflies spend most of their 2- to 5-year lives as freshwater larvae called hellgrammites. These voracious underwater predators have strong, pinching jaws to help capture and eat aquatic insects, insect larvae, small fish and amphibians.
Foods of the Blue Sucker consist of aquatic insects (trichopteran larvae and pupa and mayfly larvae), a variety of small benthic invertebrates (hellgrammites, amphipods, and fingernail clams), and some filamentous algae (Rupprecht & Jahn 1980; Moss et al.
Almost two-thirds of the hellgrammites (Corydalus cornutus) from a Tennessee stream carried chironomids (Furnish et al., 1981).
The macroinvertebrate community in the mainstream of the Pigeon River commonly includes stoneflies (Taeniopterigidae), mayflies (Leptophlebiidae, Heptageniidae), caddisflies (Limnephilidae, Hydropsychidae, Phryganeidae, Polycentropodidae, Phil-opotamidae), amphipods (Gammaridae), isopods (Asellidae), black flies (Simuliidae), midges (Chironomidae), other Diptera (Athericidae, Culici-dae, Tabanidae, Tipulidae), true bugs (Belostomatidae, Corixidae, Gerridae, Nepidae, Notonectidae, Veliidae), water beetles (Dytiscidae, Gyrinidae, Haliplidae, Hydrophilidae), dragon flies (Anisoptera), damsel flies (Coena-grionidae)T hellgrammites (Corydalidae), alderflies (Sialidae), and crayfish (Decapoda).