I’m not sure this is native to the United States
Location: Baltimore, MD (but I’m not sure its domestic)
April 22, 2011 9:05 am
I was recently at work and happened to look down when I was leaving. On the ground and on its back it kind of looked like a large beetle, but I flipped it over and it definitely wasn’t a beetle. It was about 4-5” in length and didn’t move around even though it was alive. I’ve tried to find information about it but nobody knows what it is, could you find out the name of it?
Signature: Shawn Yoder

Giant Water Bug

Hi Shawn,
This is a Giant Water Bug in the genus
Lethocerus, and it is most likely one of five native species, though it has similar looking relatives in other parts of the world.  Alas, we haven’t the necessary skills to determine if this is a native species or one of its foreign relatives, however, we suspect it is native.  You can view photos of the natives on BugGuide. Giant Water Bugs are not beetles, as you have observed, and they are also called Toe-Biters since their bite is reported to be quite painful and Electric Light Bugs since they are attracted to lights at night.  They are the largest True Bugs in North America, though foreign relatives, especially those in Southeast Asia where they are eaten as delicacies, are significantly larger.  If your specimen was truly over four inches in length, it might well be a foreign import as North American individuals are allegedly only three inches in length.

Location: Maryland

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