4″ long big eyed bug in my flower garden
April 1, 2010
First I’d like to say thank you for providing this website. It gives very descriptive information on a wide variety of bugs from all over the world. Out of the 10-15 sites I visited this one is the best by far.
I live in Southern Ontario, Canada, in a rural area that is damp due to the numerous ponds located on my 170 acre property. It is springtime here and it is a warm sunny day with a temperature of 21degrees celsius.
I was pulling grass and weeds from my flower garden in front of my house and found this interesting bug hiding between a garden ornament and a rock. I gently pulled it out with my garden shovel and placed it on top of the rock in the sunlight so I could take a picture. It didn’t seem to like the sunlight or perhaps it was the warmth of the rock I put it on. It kept trying to crawl back to a dark and cooler place and it didn’t move too quickly. The body of this bug is 3″ long and 1″ wide with large black eyeballs and a flat profile. It’s body looks hard (I didn’t touch it with my hand) and is dark grey in colour with a black tear drop shaped marking near it’s tail end. I noticed a reddish spot on the tear drop shape but it almost looks like a scrape instead of a marking. It has two 2″ long, large legs at the front, stemming from under it’s head, that look claw-like. It also has four other legs which have thick fur on them. The two front legs each have one pointed cl aw at the end and the back four legs each have two claws at their end. They remind me of the toenails on a cat. Not sure if it has wings but it certainly looks as if it does because it’s upper body has a line down the center as if it could separate.
I’ve looked around your website but haven’t found this particular bug (unless I skipped a page) and I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me to identify it. I’ve attached two photos.
Thank you very much for your time.
Mrs. MJ Timmerman
(Southern Ontario) 30 kms North of Kingston, Ontario Canada
Dear Mrs. Timmerman,
Your description in the subject line was so perfect, we actually identified your insect before even opening your letter. We receive countless requests for the identification of your insect, the Giant Water Bug, also called a Toe-Biter or Electric Light Bug, and we have tagged it Top Ten. This aquatic species is capable of flight, and it is often encountered far from a water source. The common name Toe-Biter is due to the number of swimmers in lakes and ponds who are bitten on the toe when accidentally stepping on a Giant Water Bug. The bite is reported to be quite painful, though we rarely get a report of a person actually being bitten. We do caution our readership that though they are not aggressive, they should be handled with care.