Currently viewing the category: "Toe Biters and other Aquatic True Bugs"
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Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Subject: Huge Canadian Bug
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
October 9, 2014 5:18 pm
Hi!
I was out hunting in the woods today and accidentally stepped on this huge bug (God bless)! I’m very curious as to what it was. The current temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius as we’re right into the fall season.
Signature: Logan

Giant Water Bug

Giant Water Bug

Dear Logan,
This impressive creature is a Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter.  Toe-Biters are aquatic predators that can also fly, so they can move from pond to pond or seek a new watery habitat if their home dries out.

MaryBeth Kelly liked this post
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Subject: BUG ID
Location: Rochester, NY
September 7, 2014 6:14 pm
Can you ID this bug which was found in our garage. Runs fast. Possibly soldier bug ?
Thank you,
Veronica
Signature: Veronica

True Bug, but which one???

Distorted image of Toe-Biter

Dear Veronica,
We wish your image had more detail.  We are relatively confident that this is a True Bug in the suborder Heteroptera, but at this time, we cannot provide any additional information.  It most closely resembles the Narrow Stink Bugs in the genus Mecidea that are pictured on BugGuide, but we do not believe that is a correct identification, especially as there are no sightings in the northeast.  Can you please tell us how large this insect was and also send additional images if you have any.  Meanwhile, we are going to seek a second opinion from Eric Eaton.

Eric Eaton provides an obvious ID
Daniel:
Kinda funny that it *ran* fast considering this is actually an aquatic insect that *swims* fast.  LOL!  This is a giant water bug in the genus Belostoma, family Belostomatidae.  They fly well and are sometimes attracted to lights at night.  Well, you know that already, and know they are also called “toe-biters.”
Eric

Interesting Eric.  We are no strangers to Toe-Biter identifications, and at first we thought this might be a Water Scorpion.  The image appears to be distorted, and that threw us off, combined with the “runs fast” comment.

Comment
This reminds me quite a bit of a Belostomatid, but it looks like a somewhat stretched picture. If you vertically compress the picture a little bit, it’s easier to see. Then again, it could be something completely different! I look forward to hearing what Mr Eaton says. The true bugs are my favorite group to work with, there’s always surprises.
sccabrian

Dear sccabrian,
You are correct.  See Eric’s response and our reply.

Hemipteran Corrected Perspective

Hemipteran Corrected Perspective

Ed. Note:  We feel really stupid because our first thought was aquatic bug, but it just did not look right.  We never suspected altered perspective.  Of the Toe-Biters in the genus Belostoma, BugGuide states much of fascination, including “overwinters as an adult; mating and egg laying occurs in late spring or early summer” and “Females cement their eggs to the backs of males, who swim with the eggs attached, providing aeration and protection until the eggs hatch.”  This is one of the few examples in the Insect Class where the presence of the male improves the chances of survival of the young, AKA paternal behavior.  We believe the male Sexton Beetles contribute to the care of the larvae.

Thank you Daniel. Unfortunately we have no other images. We think he is about an inch long +/- a bit. I know we are horrid
describers !

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Subject: Large African Flying Beetle
Location: Burkina Faso (West Africa)
June 28, 2014 11:38 am
Hey Sir, I am a Marine stationed out here in Africa and saw the weirdest looking beetle outside my house. I have never seen anything like it on discovery channel. The things was huge and aggressive. Not only did it have huge claws to grab stuff with but it fly’s also! It wasn’t even scared of me it actually tried to attack me. I didn’t squish the monster he took off and caught a moth in flight. Hopefully you can help me identify this guy.
Signature: Zachary Staman

Giant Water Bugs

Giant Water Bugs

Hi Zachary,
It is easy to mistake this Giant Water Bug in the family Belostomatidae for a beetle, but closer inspection will reveal that instead of mandibles adapted to chewing like the beetles, the Giant Water Bug has a mouth designed to pierce and suck fluids from its prey, consistent with the mouths of Heteropterans, the True Bugs.  Giant Water Bugs from North America are often called Toe-Biters because unwary waders have frequently received a painful bite if they step on one of these aquatic predators, or otherwise carelessly handle them.  

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Subject: Would like to be informed what this bug is ?
Location: Edmonton Alberta
June 12, 2014 11:36 am
I live in Edmonton Alberta and on a job site in the dirt we found this bug we are all very curious what it is ??
Signature: Thanks bug man !

Giant Water Bug

Giant Water Bug

While we cannot make out details, we are quite certain that this is a Giant Water Bug in the family Belostomatidae.

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Subject: Large Beetle I have never seen before
Location: North Western Pennsylvania
May 28, 2014 6:17 am
Bugman the photos I have attached are of a large beetle that I have never encountered. Living on a farm in North western Pennsylvania we see a multitude of insects but nobody in our area has seen on of these, I am hoping you can identify it. The beetle is approx. 3 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. It flew into the side of our swimming pool and sounded like a baseball it hit so hard. It appears to have multiple sets of wings and looks even larger when in flight. Unfortunately its navigation error ended it’s life.
Signature: Mark

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Hi Mark,
This is not a Beetle, but rather, a Giant Water Bug, commonly called a Toe-Biter.  Giant Water Bugs are aquatic predators that are capable of flying from pond to pond to swimming pool.  The bite of a Toe-Biter is reported to be quite painful, but not dangerous to humans.

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Subject: Strange Large Injured Beetle
Location: Northern burbs of Atlanta
May 13, 2014 1:28 pm
Spotted this large fellow last night outside my kids’ karate studio. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m always on the watch for interesting insects. I’m assuming based on body type, number of legs and what look like two sets of wings this is a type of beetle. The front two legs looked like pincers. He was distressed on his back at first. When I flipped him he hobbled and seemed injured on his back leg. We move him out of the way of over-reacting karate kids and parents and hope he was able to make a recovery. My kids and I would love help identifying this large insect.
Signature: Resa

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Hi Resa,
Commonly called a Toe-Biter, this Giant Water Bug is an aquatic predator, and it is classified as a True Bug, not a Beetle.  Though aquatic, Toe-Biters are capable of flying from location to location, which is helpful when vernal ponds begin to dry out.  Because of your efforts to rescue this impressive creature, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

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