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

Subject: Giant alien-like bug
Location: Deerfield, New York
May 27, 2016 8:21 pm
I came across this huge insect in our local grocery store’s parking lot late at night (11:30pm EST) in Deerfield, NY. It had a mission as it wobbled right along. What is it? Scared the heck out of me! Such a strange looking thing. My pic is the second attachment but my friend took a pic (first attachment) of what I believe to be the same bug I encountered and she lives not too far from where I saw mine. Hope to hear from you soon as I’m very curious!
Signature: Erica W.

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Erica,
This is a predatory Giant Water Bug, commonly called a Toe-Biter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

For Us, Donald Trump is clumsy and deadly, kind of like a Toe-Biter.  They sound stubborn too.  We can well imagine a predatory, aquatic True Bug being used by a young boy to scare a young girl.  That scenario seems somewhat Trumpian.

Close-Up of a Toe-Biter

If The Donald was a Bug:  Close-Up of a Toe-Biter

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand is much more stealth than she is clumsy, and we would not want to cross her as we imagine her wrath would be unflinching.  Hillary reminds us of a Preying Mantis.  She is deliberate and she is stronger than her mate, who can become a meal, losing his head while copulating, and never losing a beat, so that she would have the energy to raise a brood.  A Preying Mantis can turn its head to look behind it.

If Hillary was a Bug: Mantis Eats Hummer.

If Hillary was a Bug: Mantis Eats Hummer.

For Bernie Sanders, we decided to reference the “Feel the Bern” campaign slogan and we selected the Iron Cross Blister Beetle, which could cause folks to feel the burn if it is carelessly handed.  We found a great image from our archives of an Iron Cross Blister Beetle taking a dip in the swimming pool, but Bernie’s campaign is showing no evidence of cooling off as California’s primary approaches.

Iron Cross Blister Beetle: Feel the Bern

Bernie Sanders:  Cooling Off or still Feeling the Burn???

Origin of this Posting:  May 7, 2016
We thought today while working in the yard how we might anthropomorphize some bugs that remind us of the political candidates, and the first thing that came to mind today for Donald Trump, because of a comment from Roxanne we received, is a Toe-Biter.
  According to Roxanne:  “I have never been bitten. they pinch however, with their big front legs. they are also difficult to remove from clothing, as they are velcro-like. Also difficult to remove from hysterical humans, they have landed on. They are terrible flyers.. bombadiers.”

Comment from a reader
Candidate bugs
June 7, 2016 6:00 am
Loved, loved loved the Candidate comparison. And spot on. Would love to see the rest of the Republican field (pre-primaries).
Signature: Steve

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Identify this bug
Location: Kalamazoo Michigan united States of America
April 17, 2016 10:43 pm
Found this bug on top of a parking garage. Figure its a beetle but i have never seen one so big before. If i could get a reply asap on the specific type it is and where it originates and maybe its diet i would be much appreciated. And if its dangerous.
Thank you for your time.
Signature: Troy Root

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Troy,
This is a Toe-Biter, a predatory, aquatic True Bug.  It is not a beetle.  It will prey on aquatic insects, and it is also capable of capturing small fish and tadpoles.  Though they might bite if carelessly handled or if encountered while wading in fresh water ponds, the bite is not considered dangerous.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug
Location: Seattle
April 12, 2016 8:45 pm
Seen this bug 3 places 3 different times in last 2 weeks
Signature: Will

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Will,
The Toe-Biter is an aquatic predator that is capable of flying from pond to pond, which helps during years of drought.  The Toe-Biter should be handled with caution as it is reported to have a painful, but not dangerous bite.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination