What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Please Identify
April 30, 2010
Found this on a beach trying to scuttle back into the water
Antonio
Durban South Africa

Water Bug

Dear Antonio,
We really wish your photos had a higher resolution because we cannot really see any details that would assist identification.  We are not sure what family this Water Bug belongs to, but we are certain it is an aquatic true bug.

Hi Daniel
May 18, 2010
Sorry it has taken so long I have managed to retrieve the high res pics of the water bug – hope this will be more appropriate.
Kind Regards – Toni

Water Bug

Thanks so much for resending these images Antonio.  We just may update this old letter as an announcement which will place it at the top of our homepage where our readership can take a stab at identification.

Water Bug

Karl has a theory
May 19, 2010
Hi Daniel and Antonio:
This bug looks very much like a giant water bug or toe-biter (Belostomatidae), except for those legs and that elevated posture. However there is one primitive genus (Limnogeton) with only four representative species, all African as far as I can tell, that may be the one you are looking for. The most widespread and common species appears to be Fiebers Giant Water bug, L. fieberi. Most of what follows was gleaned from an online book entitled “The Evolution of Social Behavior in Insects and Arachnids” (Jae C. Choe and Bernard J. Crespi,  1997). The Limnogeton are considered to be the most primitive of the Belostomids and differ from all the rest in several ways. They are obligate predators of snails, they apparently hunt more by walking than swimming, and they do not use their forelegs to capture their prey as Belostimids typically do. The forelegs are long and dexterous but they don’t have the massive musculature that is normally seen in Belostomids, which typically feed on more active prey items which they capture in a mantis-like fashion. According to Choe and Crespi, “Limnogeton seem to recognize their prey when the mollusks are creeping very slowly and even when they are still. Limnogeton fieberi approaches snails with its beak extended. The stylets are then inserted into the body of the snail causing it to release its grip if attached to a plant or other substrate.”  Furthermore, the middle and hind legs are not built for swimming – they do not have the paddle-like expansions. Since it is an effective snail predator Limnogeton is being considered as a potential biological control agent in the fight against schistosomiasis carrying snails. I was able to find only one online image of Limnogeton, in the “Field Guide to Insects of South Africa”. Unfortunately, the picture of L. fieberi (spelled Limnigeton) is not great and the brief write-up doesn’t match very well with biological information I found elsewhere. I hope I am on the right track and that this helps a little. Regards.  Karl

Unknown Water Bug

Dear Antonio,
We really wish your photos had a higher resolution because we cannot really see any details that would assist identification.  We are not sure what family this Water Bug belongs to, but we are certain it is an aquatic true bug.

Unknown Water Bug
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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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