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Water Bug
This creature was swimming in a cool, spring-fed creek in Arkansas on July 3. It was about the size of a silver dollar, or perhaps a bit larger, not including the legs. It was so big that I first thought it was a baby turtle. Some biologically oriented friends agreed that it was probably nymph of something, but they weren’t sure what. Any ideas?
Tom

Hi Tom,
This is one of the most perplexing mysteries to come our way in quite some time. The size is puzzlingly large. The mouthparts to not resemble those of a Hemipteran. The body shape is not consistant with that of a Dragonfly Naiad. We agree it is most likely a nymph. We are calling in the big guns and requesting assistance from Eric Eaton. Eric quickly wrote back with this information: “I don’t blame anyone for being mystified over this creature! Had I not remembered an image in a book I have on Fresh-Water Biology, I wouldn’t have been able to give an answer, either. It is indeed a nymph, of a dragonfly in the genus Hagenius, which I believe is in the family Gomphidae (clubtail dragonflies). I don’t know anything about their biology, but presumably a Google search would yield further info.”

Dragonhunter
(11/05/2006)
Hi Guys,
I noticed the “mystery water creature” on your site and I think it is the nymph of a Dragonhunter (Hagenius brevistylus) – a species of dragonfly. Keep up the good work
Aaron

Hi Aaron,
Thanks for the information. Both you and Eric Eaton quickly resolved this mystery for us. BugGuide has a nice image of the Naiad and we also located images of adults.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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