Definition of dobsonfly in English:



  • A large grey North American winged insect related to the alderflies. Its predatory aquatic larva (the hellgrammite) is often used as fishing bait.

    • ‘Eastern dobsonflies live east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada.’
    • ‘With the exception of the wetland species, dobsonflies are generally found in well-oxygenated lakes and streams.’
    • ‘Fishflies and dobsonflies are nocturnal, while alderflies are active during the day.’
    • ‘The fierce-looking, winged dobsonfly has a life cycle that lasts two to five years.’
    • ‘Whereas, the aquatic immature spends several years in a stream, the adult dobsonfly lives only about 7 days.’


Early 20th century: of unknown origin.