Big Scary Beetle!!
Location: Minnesota
August 6, 2011 8:04 am
We were out looking at a car last night, and saw this big ugly bug on the lot. It flies. And has freakishly large pincers/legs. WHAT IS THIS THING??
Signature: Austen


Hi Austen,
We hope you picked out a nice fuel efficient vehicle.  This is not a Beetle.  It is a Giant Water Bug, a True Bug.  As its name implies, it is an aquatic species, and we are surprised that you have not encountered one before since you live in the “land of a 10,000 lakes” which we suspect is prime habitat for this large predator.  Giant Water Bugs are also excellent fliers, and they are attracted to strong lights.  Often great numbers congregate in well lighted parking lots and at nighttime sporting events, owing to another common name, Electric Light Bug.  Our favorite common name, Toe-Biter, is attributed to the their habit of biting unwary swimmers, especially in ponds and lakes.  The bite of a Toe-Biter is reported to be quite painful.  Though they are not a venomous species, they inject enzymes for the digestion of prey when they bite that causes pain and swelling.  They are not blood suckers, and they only bite humans out of defense.  Their typical prey includes aquatic insects, tadpoles and small fish which they capture with their raptorial forelegs.

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Location: Minnesota

7 Responses to Toe-Biter

  1. Jordan says:

    Hi me and my friend found one of these on my side lawn and I got my mason jar aka bug jar and some pliers and I grabbed it and put it in the jar and then showed every one it and they did not know what it was so I searched it and it showed that it was a tow bitter can u reply to me what it eats

    • bugman says:

      Toe-Biters are aquatic predators, and though they are capable of flying, we do not believe they hunt in the air. The do hunt underwater. You could probably feed them small goldfish, and you will most likely not need to feed them too often, possibly as little as once a week.

  2. Liam Monahan says:

    We found giant bugs in pike lake near Duluth, mn. It appears to live under water. It about 1.5 in long and had some sort of pearl looking thing on it back. When stepped on by accident it stuck to a ladies foot . Any idea what it might be?

  3. Sam says:

    I’ve found these a few times here in Minnesota, but I have never caught one, seeing as the ones I’ve found are quite large (1.5 – 3 inches). What do their larva look like?

  4. josh says:

    I would see these a lot while I was photographing night time high school football and soccer games in Lakeville, MN and surrounding suburbs but now, I live in vegas, where we have tarantulas, killer bees, scorpions, black widows and cockroaches. The roaches come out at night during the spring and early summer on sidewalks, decks, outdoor walls, and then they just disappear for the rest of the year. They’re like our version of Minnesota mosquitoes

  5. Jessica says:

    I found one at the laundry mat in Western NY ugly big bug looks like it has Pinchers on the front of it scared the crap out of me thanks for letting me no what it is

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