Long, Black and Shiny With Big Pinchers

Not sure how else you would describe this bug. Found it crawling around under a water dish we put out for the birds. Since then I’ve seen it on a few more occasions. It’s about an inch and a half long and moves quite quickly on the ground easily disappearing under the ground debris. For this shot I had to quickly scoop it up into a dish to keep it contained long enough for a few pictures (followed by a release back to where it was found).

In trying to ID it I did a bunch of searches on “long black shiny pinchers bug” but never found anything even close. In one reference book it looked to maybe be a diving beetle larvae however we’re not close to water. Carl, a naturalist friend of ours, at first was leaning this way too and said: “The dytiscids (diving beetles) pupate on land away from the water, buried in the soil or under objects…” however shortly afterwards pointed me to another blog which seemed to confirm this is a ground beetle larvae of the family Carabidae. The site that helped point me in this direction is SomethingsCrawlingInMyHair. So, next time you find something strange in your yard, spend some time looking it up and if you’re still stumped, don’t be afraid to ask someone knowledgeable for help.


~ by Gary & Therese on August 10, 2011.

25 Responses to “Long, Black and Shiny With Big Pinchers”

  1. It sure looks like an earwig to me! If that’s correct it doesn’t narrow it down very much though, as earwigs comprise an order of insects (not a family or a genus). You could always post it a bugguide.net, and I’m sure someone there would be able to take it down to the genus level (if not the species).

  2. Definitely is not an earwig. The pinchers are the front, not the back like on an earwig and the length of this bug is at least twice the size of the largest earwig I’ve seen.

    Sadly, I did check BugGuide already too and there are almost no larvae pics of these guys. I’m sure if I posted it up there they could probably get a bit more specific as there are some really smart bug people on there. I sat in on a photo presentation earlier this year from a guy who is a regular contributor and he had some amazing shots!

  3. My daughter found an identical bug, already dead, just inside the back door. (Kansas) He probably came in looking for a place to cool off. His ‘tail’ part behind the legs is very much like a caterpillar, I’m going to add the word ‘sections’ to our search and see if we come up with anything. I’m wondering if he has to lift his tail into the air to move, and that reminds me of a scorpion. -He does have the pinscers, but I don’t see a stinger at his tail. We have seen some lizards in the area this summer, so I wouldn’t be surprised. I don’t know the least thing about bugs, only that they are fascinating. We’d be interested in knowing what he is, and will let you know if we come up with anything.

  4. I too found the same kind of bug! He was in the dirt lying under a tire that we moved! Any news on what of insect this is?

  5. I found one here in Texas. It’s just my luck the the only picture I can find on google is also unidentified, lol.

  6. I found a bug like this as well (Missouri). Did some research and found that it appears to be a ground beetle larvae.

  7. i found the exact same thing living in the water in the salt river. they are everywhere in the river. what the hell is this thing is my question. and what kind of beetle is that widely known throughout the us that we are finding its ‘larva’ everywhere in the water and out

  8. It looks almost like some kind of rove beetle. I just found one of these in my bathroom, I’m also at a loss for what kind of bug this really is.

  9. Snakefly Larvae

  10. No, I found the same bug and am currently awaiting an answer from the entomology department at A&M. A snakefly larve does does have pinchers. The one I have is a different color than the one pictures here, but it is obviousl of the same species.

  11. So the entomolgy department responded to my query, and this is the correct identification, here is a link:

  12. Ok, I know it’s not an earwig have them a lot through the house and yard. This “thing” Is darker and longer and has the pincher part in the front unlike earwigs. And is more ready to bite. Front the front not the back. Earwigs usually bite from the front, believe it or not, their back pinchers don’t hurt as much as their mouths!

  13. Just found one of these outside my house (Pierre SD), after checking the Snakefly larva link.. concluded there are FAR to many differences in the body type. It is a larva of some type and the Predaceous ground beetle larva is close .. the only thing that threw me from this conclusion (if you follow the handy link provided by Pattie 2 posts above) is the prominent appendages comment. The specimen in the glass on my desk only has 6 legs at the front of his body. Though i’m having trouble identifying properly, a few more details from my (harmless I assure you) pestering of the interesting little guy. 1. when faced with a threat in front of it, it will walk backwards as effortlessly as it walks forward even with its lack of rear appendages. 2. Its rear segmented “tail” lets just say.. is STRONG! As I was trying to catch it .. I attempted to pin it with a small stick about the same length as the little critter. I could feel it pushing against the stick and it broke free.. easily. Impressive little guy! 3. After catching and watching it closely I noticed a small, almost tube like appendage poke out from its … well its butt :p. NO idea what that is. 4. after getting brave .. I let it bite me .. (your welcome :s) Obviously the pincers did very little, but then it swung its tail around… Still nothing terrible.. Gave me a scare! but still no damage. Concluded- Creepy.. not dangerous!

  14. http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/icm/node/447/print Found him! Indeed he is a Predacious Ground Beetle! the link I provided above (about halfway down the page) shows a picture of the little guy in the latter days of his larval stage. (lay off the weeds little guy!) His black coloration fades into the brown coloration until after his last little growth spurt and Poof! We have the Big pincered Ground Beetle. Little guy is released back into my yard no worse for the wear 🙂

  15. I, too, cannot find ANYTHING about these kinds of bugs! In GA and SC!

    Are they taking over the world? D; lol

  16. That bug is bad news

  17. This is a “Ring-Legged Earwig”.

  18. Painful bite! has happened twice to me by something identical looking but only a couple of mm long. Once on my eyeball in CO, and just a few minutes ago on my belly here in N. CA. This is the only photo of it I’ve seen so far.
    What is this disturbing insect? It’s not anything I’ve seen mentioned yet.

    • I have no idea what might have bitten you… but this insect was much larger than just a couple of mm. It was around an inch and a half long (about 37-40 mm).

  19. http://www.bmpt1.com/tutorialimages/photographinginsects1/photographinginsects01.html
    its a rove beetle

    • Thanks for the comment.. I looked over your images but I’m, pretty certain it isn’t a rove. While I can’t tell with 100% certainty, the image on your site does not appear to show large pinchers on the head as mine does.

  20. It’s a Hellgrammite. Google them. Baby Dobson Fly. They bite painfully, kill them.

  21. I know this post is old but I have been tirelessly searching for this bug that has infested my back porch this fall. I came across your picture and that is exactly the bug! Reading the comments led me to find out that it is a soldier beetle larvae. Black velvetly skin, half inch in length, segmented body, pincers on head. Some of the Google images don’t match exactly because they range in color from brown to black to grey, but trust me, this is exactly what it is! Such a relief to find out what I have thanks to your original post. Yay!

  22. My daughter and I found one attached to a large worm. It was holding on as the worm tried to escape.

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