Currently viewing the category: "Toe Biters and other Aquatic True Bugs"
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Subject: Stick insect like thing
Location: Pond, England, Surrey ,Guildford
April 25, 2015 2:25 am
I was wondering if you could help me with a discovery that I found in my pond. I was clearing out duck weed when I found what I can only describe as a stick insect running across the water. It is about 2cm long and it has 6 legs and 2 antennae on a long thin body.
I have searched lots and lots of websites but I still cannot find out what it is.
Signature: From katie wright age 12

Water Scorpion

Water Strider or Water Scorpion???

Dear Katie,
This is a predatory, aquatic True Bug, and at first we thought it was in the family Nepidae whose members are commonly called Water Scorpions as they will deliver a painful, though not dangerous bite if they are carelessly handled.  When we reread your submission, we realized you stated it was  “running across the water.”  We apologize for the error, but since it was on top of the water, it is more likely a Water Strider in the family Gerridae.  We wish your images had greater detail.

Correction:  Water Measurer
Thanks to a comment we received, we now know that this is a Water Measurer in the family Hydrometridae and we learned on BugGuide that they are found “on emergent/floating vegetation along edges of ponds, marshes, and pools of slow-moving streams”
and that they feed upon “newly emerged, slow-moving, dying, or dead invertebrates (midges, mosquito larvae, bloodworms, ostracods, springtails, etc.)”  BioImages UK has some nice images.

Thank you sooooooo much I am really really pleased that you found out what it was. I can’t believe how good you were at identifying. If someone ever poses a question like that to me I will definately recommend you. I will ask my mum if I can make a donation

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Subject: Big bug
Location: Northern WV on the Ohio Valley
April 19, 2015 7:58 am
This morning I rescued this bug out of my pool. It is about 2.5 inches long and looks pretty scarey. It looks like it has wings. I live in WV and we are just starting to warm up for spring. I have never seen a bug like this before.
Signature: David

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Hi David,
This aquatic, predatory True Bug is commonly called a Toe-Biter.  Handle with caution as the bite, though not dangerous, is reported to be quite painful

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Subject: SE Oregon in March
Location: Near Malheur Basin in Burns, OR
March 27, 2015 10:10 am
Found this crawling across a parking lot in Burns, OR. Looks almost cockroach-like, but doesn’t have antennae.
Signature: Visiting in Burns

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Visiting in Burns,
This is a Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter, an aquatic predator that can also fly from pond to pond in search of prey.
  The Giant Water Bug was our featured Bug of the Month in June 2008.

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Subject: Killer Palmeto?
Location: Florida
March 16, 2015 7:43 pm
I keep seeing these and they gross me out and now I’m just plain curious what I’m running across
Signature: KP

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear KP,
This Giant Water Bug or Toe-Biter is not even remotely related to a Palmetto Bug.  The Toe-Biter is an aquatic predator.

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Subject: cockroach??
Location: new orleans LA
March 15, 2015 9:53 am
saw this at the entrance to a winn dixie grocery store today, lloks like a cockroach but no antenae?.. looked on LSU ag site cant find anything… ideas?
Signature: Aaron Robinson

Toe-Biter

Toe-Biter

Dear Aaron,
This Giant Water Bug is a Toe-Biter, an aquatic, predatory True Bug, not a Cockroach which is an opportunistic scavenger, or at least the few species of Cockroaches that infest human homes are opportunistic scavengers.  Also known as Electric Light Bugs because they are often attracted to the bright lights of sporting events, especially those located near swamps, ponds and other fresh water bodies of water, Toe-Biters earned their more colorful common name because they frequently bite the toes of waders in natural bodies of water.  Though aquatic, Toe-Biters are powerful fliers as well, enabling them to fly to a new habitat if their pond dries out.  Larger relatives are eaten in Thailand.  Toe-Biters are one of our most common identification requests.

Fantastic quick response very grateful for that… Ive been in NOLA for 10 years and I thought I have seen most everything haha… very informative I appreciate your time…. is it odd to see them away from water especially in front of a grocery store?.. one last… are they dangerous if bitten.
thanks again for your time !!
Aaron R

Allegedly painful, but not dangerous, though it seems some people are allergic to most things these days.

 

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Subject: Odd bug
Location: Ringwood East, Vic
January 16, 2015 2:34 am
Hello bugman,
I found this insect in my lawn after it was cut. We don’t know what it is! Do you?
We live in Ringwood East, Victoria.
Thank you for your help!
Signature: Oscar Edwards

Backswimmer

Backswimmer

Dear Oscar,
Do you have a pond or swimming pool in your yard or nearby?  This is an aquatic True Bug known as a Backswimmer in the family Notonectidae.  Though they are aquatic, adult Backswimmers can fly from one body of water to another.  They are predators that feed on other small water insects and invertebrates, even feeding on small fish and tadpoles.  LIke other True Bugs, they have mouths designed to pierce and suck, and they can deliver a painful bite, causing them to be called Water Wasps in North America.  See the Australian Museum for more information, including:  “Backswimmers get their name because they are great at backstroke. Using their legs they swim upside down at the surface of the water.”

 

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination