June Bug?

One day while gazing at the water on the Little Wappingers Creek, a movement caught my eye. I spied a creature much larger than any bug I have ever seen, scampering across the current. It was light brown in color, and almost the size of a small bird. Because it was in the middle of the creek, I could not quite make out any details. I only knew I had never seen anything like it before.

By my secret spot creekside, my obsession with fish is what has enabled me to witness the many miracles I have been happy to share over the past year. It all started with the discovery of the creek, and my eagerness to fish. Over the months and years I was disappointed to realize that there were no fish worth catching in that creek, but my obsession never diminished. I was still determined to find out what kinds of fish do exist in that little creek, and to see how big they were. Thus I would sit there and vow not to move from that spot until I would see a fish come to the surface to feed. It was so relaxing that eventually I would nod off.

Being so still in the woods is how I came to be able to witness beaver, ducks, herons, crayfish, snakes, mink, birds, etc. I was so still they would never notice me. A bird would fly right by my ear, and chipmunks would run over my foot. I used to think everything I needed to know about the world I could learn just from sitting in meditation there.

I went from fishing to feeding fish, just to observe them. During wet seasons, the earthworms are so plentiful you can scoop them up by the handful, like spaghetti! I also would buy a can of fish food, sprinkle it on the water, return to my seat and wait for the water to come to a “boil.” WOW!

One day, while drowsing in my seat, I sleepily yawned and stretched, sat up, and looked around. Down in the ground right next to my chair I noticed what looked like a freshly dug grave, only it was about 4 inches long, a perfectly and precisely shaped rectangle.

I thought at first it could have been an impression from the leg of the chair, until I noticed a creature snugly nestled inside of it. It appeared to be black, about the same length as the hole, rather squishy and leathery, and it had lots of legs. I touched it and it moved, revealing a scary shaped head with pincers, ready to strike. Yikes!

Was it some sort of northern scorpion? The thing was awesome but creepy. I read on one blog that someone described it as one of those creatures from a bad Japanese sci-fi movie.

Over the months of summer and through the years I would spy these little “coffin holes” at various distances from the water. Asking around, of course, no one knew what I was talking about. After typing in just the right descriptions, eventually I found what I was looking for.

The creature is a Dobson fly. A fly? Really?

Well what I was seeing did not yet have wings, so how could it be a fly! Ask and you shall receive. Thanks to Google, I found all the information I needed.

The Dobson fly is one of the favorite foods of bass. It is the largest aquatic insect in the Northeast. Ranging from 2-4” in length, its soft body ranges in color from light tan to brown to gray or black.

Males have long curved mandibles about one inch long. The females have a short jaw, but it is their pincers you need to look out for. They can give a nasty bite or pinch, but are not poisonous.

Although adults live only briefly, and do not feed, the larvae hatch and develop underwater, and live for about three years underneath rocks in moving streams and rivers, feeding on smaller insects.

Get out there and explore! When all else fails, just be still. You never know what you'll find in our backyard!


Pat Laine is a 9 year resident of Clinton. She owns and operates Little Creek Therapeutic Massage. She shares her home with her Maine Coon cat and collie dog. Whether walking in the woods, or along Little Wappingers Creek and its environs, she observes the miracles of wildlife and plant life on a daily basis.

Miss the previous months' contributions to IN OUR BACKYARD?

May no submission
Here is April
Here is March
Here is February

Here is January
Here is December
Here is November
Here is October

Here is September
Here is August

Here is July

Here is June

Here is May
Here is April
Here is March
Here is February
Here is January
Here is December