Currently viewing the category: "Toe Biters and other Aquatic True Bugs"
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Subject: Giant Water Bug?
Location: Madison, Ohio
October 4, 2016 5:28 am
Hello! I am writing from Northeastern Ohio, very near Lake Erie.
This morning as I was coming home from taking my daughter to school, I pulled into the garage & pushed the button to close it. Something activated the safety sensor, and the door rolled back open.
Upon investigation, I find this guy, flopping around. I scooted him nicely away from the sensor, snapped a picture and was then able to close the garage door. My younger daughter couldn’t believe how big he was!! Thanks to your site, I was able to search thru and find out just what kind of bug he was. Thank you for this awesome resource!!
Signature: Marge Oldbotom

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Marge,
Giant Water Bugs or Toe-Biters are quite impressive, and shockingly large for folks who are encountering them for the first time.  They are the largest True Bugs in North America.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a water scorpion?
Location: St Clair, N.S.W 2759
September 19, 2016 10:28 pm
Hi, my son and I are very big on insect spotting, this one popped up on our back porch and we have never seen anything like it. I have been researching for days to try figure out what he is and water scorpion is the closest I have come but we live out in the suburbs with no lakes,rivers or ponds anywhere.
Signature: Mummy and Noah

Water Scorpion

Water Scorpion

Dear Mummy and Noah,
This is indeed a Water Scorpion, and they are able to fly great distances in search of water.  According to Sportsman Creek Conservation Area:  “They can ambush fast swimming prey such as small fish catching them between their front legs and stabbing them with their pointed probiscus.  Known as Toe-biters able to inflict a nasty nip although this specimen played dead when disturbed. Water Scorpions are also capable fliers and inhabit waterholes over much of Australia.”  According to the Queensland Museum, Australian Water Scorpions are in the genus
Laccotrephes.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this bug
Location: Black Hills National Forest SD
September 15, 2016 6:30 pm
Hello, these bugs were swarming around our house, falling on the roof like rain drops from the sky. We live in the Black Hills in South Dakota. Lots of ponderosa pine trees and some spruce. We saw them in September.
Signature: Dan

Backswimmer

Backswimmer

Dear Dan,
This is a Backswimmer, an aquatic True Bug that is also capable of flying.  Are you currently experiencing a dry spell?  It is possible that a nearby pond is drying out and these Backswimmers are seeking a new aquatic environment.  You can compare your image to this BugGuide image of
Notonecta undulata.  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “Aquatic bugs that often swim upside-down. When resting at the surface, body is typically tilted with the head downward.”  BugGuide also notes that they are also commonly called “Water Bees, Water Wasps” because they occasionally bite swimmers.

Thanks so much. That’s exactly what it is. Not knowing was driving us crazy.  Dan

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Flying bug
Location: Camrose, Alberta , Canada
September 6, 2016 7:14 pm
Hope you can identify this bug. You can see how big it is compared to the thumb next to it. It flew into the building at night., maybe attracted to the lights.
Signature: Patricia Wilcox

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Patricia,
This Giant Water Bug has several other common names, including Toe-Biter, because of the number of waders who have been surprised while in the water, and Electric Light Bug because of their propensity for being attracted to artificial lights.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: 4 legged aquatic “Walking Stick”bug?
Location: Concord, MA
August 21, 2016 7:29 pm
While kayaking along the Concord River (Concord, MA) on August 21, 2016 I encountered this 4 legged insect atop a clump of decaying, floating weeds. At first the thought of a “Walking Stick” came to mind. But upon closer examination noticed the 4 legs (4 legs?). It was also about 4 inches long (body). Definitely not a Walking Stick! So what is this bug? I apologize for the picture qualities as I was moving (wind/current) and trying to capture this insect with a telephoto lens in a macro attempt.
Signature: dpsrams

Water Scorpion

Water Scorpion

Dear dpsrams,
This unusual aquatic insect is a Water Scorpion in the genus
Ranatra.  Though only four of the legs are used for walking, the front pair of legs are raptorial, and they are used to capture and hold small aquatic creatures while the Water Scorpion sucks the life sustaining fluids from the body of the prey.  Water Scorpions are also capable of flying from pond to pond which comes in handy if conditions cause one pond to dry out.

Water Scorpion

Water Scorpion

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug in pool
Location: Southern Ontario
July 11, 2016 6:49 am
Hello Bugman!
This bug was in our pool for over a day. My daughter caught it in a jar so we could look at it better, and get it out of our pool! It looks like it has a long skinny stinger at the back It’s summertime here. Thanks so much!
Signature: Gretchen

Water Scorpion

Water Scorpion

Dear Gretchen,
This is a Water Scorpion, an aquatic predator whose common name refers to the painful bite that might result if it is carelessly handled or accidentally encountered while swimming or wading.  Water Scorpions are capable of flying from one body of water to another.  What you have mistaken for a stinger is actually a breathing tube.  This description of a Water Scorpion comes from the Northern State University website:  “Water scorpions are not really scorpions, but insects with only 3 pairs of legs and 2 pairs of wings. Their name comes from their specialized grasping forelimbs, superficially similar to the anterior ‘pincers’ of scorpions, and an elongate caudal siphon or breathing tube, which conjures up the image of the scorpion’s long stinging tail. In both cases, these features are completely different from their scorpion counterparts. The forelegs of a true scorpion have a powerful pincer – similar to that of a crab or lobster – at the tip. The forelegs of the water scorpions are likewise adapted for grasping prey, but lack pincers; instead, they use a jack-knifing design with the outer segments folding into a groove to secure prey. The tail of a scorpion has 6 rounded segments with a terminal venomous spine, and can be folded forward over the animal’s back. The tail siphon of the water scorpions is actually two straight filaments pressed against one another; the siphon is not jointed, can pivot only at the base, and does not sting. It is used to obtain air from the water surface, much like a snorkel.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination