The mammoth Giant Water uses its strong pincers to hold its prey place, but its mouth is where the threat really lies.
The Giant Water Bug is a large insect with equally large and very noticeable foreleg pincers. These pointy appendages are used to catch similar-sized underwater prey like small fish, frogs, small newts, snails, and sometimes even snakes. A strong bite injects a solution that liquefies the insides of the prey, allowing the bug to drink it in. The Giant Water Bug's body is mostly flat and oval shaped with dark brown, "dead leaf" coloring. Unable to hold its breath, small breathing tubes called spiracles allow the bug to stay under water while drawing in air trapped under its wings, somewhat like a straw. It is known to play dead in order to escape predators. It is also known for delivering a painful bite when disturbed or threatened by people. It carries the the nickname "Toe-biter" because it does just that. Barefoot swimmers and people who tread in shallow waters may get a toe pinched by one if they step too close for the Giant Water Bug's. Aside from that defensive reaction to threats, this insect is generally uninterested in people.
They make their homes at the bottom of muddy waters and ponds, or surrounding vegetation, so they can be seen swimming as well as walking near the water's edge. Muddied Giant Water Bugs may be somewhat hard to distinguish until they are rinsed. This insect can tolerate slightly polluted water, unlike many other aquatic insects like dragonflies. Giant Water Bugs are drawn to light sources at night and are often found inside or around backyard pools. A female lays fertilized eggs at the edge of a waterline whereupon the male guards them until they hatch.
Scientific Name: Lethocerus americanus
Other Name(s): Toe-biter; Electric Light Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 40mm to 62mm (1.56in to 2.42in)
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