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Genus Corydalus - Dobsonflies

Eastern Dobsonfly (Corydalus cornutus) - Corydalus cornutus - male Dobson Fly - Corydalus cornutus - female What is this?  - Corydalus cornutus  Dobsonfly - male - Corydalus cornutus - male  Dobsonfly - male - head closeup - Corydalus cornutus - male Unknown Beacon, NY Beauty - Corydalus cornutus please tell me what this aggressive thing is!!!! - Corydalus cornutus - male Huge fly - Corydalus cornutus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Megaloptera (Alderflies, Dobsonflies, and Fishflies)
Family Corydalidae (Dobsonflies and Fishflies)
Subfamily Corydalinae
Genus Corydalus (Dobsonflies)
Other Common Names
Hellgrammites (the larvae)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Corydalus Latreille, 1802
(Corydalis is a genus of flowers--see Explanation of Names.)
Explanation of Names
Corydalus (also transcribed corydalis) is Greek (κορυδαλλις) meaning Crested Lark or larkspur (flower), apparently related to Greek coryd helmet (1) (2). The Century Dictionary (2) states the name Corydalis comes from Greek corys (κορυς) meaning, specifically, a helmet crest. The name of the insect likely refers to the long mandibles of the male, resembling the crests of the lark, or harks back to the decorative crests of a helmet. The latter meaning is perhaps more sensible, given the armored, warlike appearance of the adult males of this insect.
See account for Eastern Dobsonfly on obscure origin of common names.
4 species in North America north of Mexico--see Range.
Contreras-Ramos (1997) lists thirty species, about 20 occurring in South America.
Up to 50 mm length
Huge, males have large pincers. Head flares out at neck, unlike fishflies, which taper out gradually.
The only eastern species is Eastern Dobsonfly, Corydalus cornutus. Three other species apparently have very limited distribution in North America:
Corydalus luteus - South Texas
Corydalus texanus - SW US west of the Rocky Mountains
Corydalus bidenticulatus - Arizona
Genus is restricted to the New World--other species in Central and South America (Contreras-Ramos, 1997).
Larvae are predaceous
Life Cycle
Adults live only a few days.
The large mandibles of the males are used to hold the females during mating. The females, with smaller jaws, can apparently bite quite effectively.
See Also
Dark Fishflies, Nigronia
Gray Fishflies, Neohermes
Fishflies, Chauliodes
Print References
Borror, entries for cory, corydal (1)
The Century Dictionary, entry for Corydalis (flower) (2)
Internet References
Contreras-Ramos, Atilano. 1997. Corydalus. Version 15 November 1997. (link) in The Tree of Life Web Project,