Giant Water Bug

By William T. Hathaway

Giant Water Bug

The Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus americanus) averages from 4 to 6 cm. in length, which at is about as long as an adult human small finger.

In a biological sense a bug (or true bug) is an insect having sucking mouthparts in the form of a beak. These large bugs inhabit aquatic vegetation in shallow ponds and pools. They are attracted by artificial lights and can be collected nearby the lights at night as “Electric Light Bugs.” Occasionally they may attack the foot of someone wading in shallow water — thus also the name “Toe-biter.” If handled, they may suddenly stab with their beaks, injecting an anesthetic juice used to subdue tadpoles, small fish, salamanders and other insects. The life history of this insect is well worth investigating, since its life cycle underwater is most unusual.


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