Subject: Happy Toad Bug
Location: Lake Shelbyville, Illinois
July 26, 2012 7:41 pm
I found many of these little guys on a lake shore in central Illinois. Some time going through bug guide lead me to the toad bugs. While I’m not sure the difference between the two species on bugguide, I came back to your site to see if I could find other examples. I only found one, so I thought I’d send you my photo. If you look closely, it looks like it has a smiley face on its back.
Thanks so much for sending us your photo of a Toad Bug in the family Gelastocoridae. They are sorely underrepresented on our website. The image of the Toad Bug you mentioned was sent back in 2006. We do not feel confident trying to identify the exact species, but it does appear that you have photographed a nymph as it has not yet developed wings. According to BugGuide, there are two genera found in North America and: “Gelastocoris are usually found along the edges of streams/ponds/lakes; Nerthra often far from water.” That statement inclines us toward speculating that your individual is in the genus Gelastocoris. BugGuide provides additional information on the genus, including: “A common, though well-camouflaged bug of muddy freshwater shorelines.”