What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this?
Location: Green Valley, AZ
April 16, 2012 4:53 pm
Could you please help identify this bug. It was found south of Tucson, AZ.
Signature: Josh O

Giant Water Bug

Hi Josh,
You have found a Giant Water Bug in the family Belostomatidae, the largest True Bugs in North America.  Most western species are smaller, and we rarely get reports from the west of members of the genus
Lethocerus, but that is what you have found.  BugGuide only reports one species from Arizona, and that is Lethocerus medius.  Giant Water Bugs are frequently called Toe-Biters because they can give a painful bite to swimmers that encounter them at the bottom of ponds, or Electric Light Bugs because they are frequently attracted to powerful lights.  Though they are aquatic, Giant Water Bugs are also strong fliers which suits them well if their ponds dry out.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Arizona

10 Responses to Giant Water Bug from Arizona

  1. Eileen Draper says:

    A community member brought in a 6.5 cm long brown bug today, asking if I might be able to identify it. A world-wide traveler, he thought it might be some kind of cockroach, which also was my first impression. It doesn’t have antennae, however, and it does have very “beefy” front legs. A search with my students, however, revealed that it just didn’t quite match up. We did, however, discover that this bug is a ringer for the Giant Water Bug of Arizona. We are located in Darrington, Washington, which is a long way from Arizona, although there are quite a few people who are “snowbirds” that spend winters there and usually start coming home to Darrington about Eastertime. Do these kinds of insects occur in Washington naturally, or is it likely to have hitched a ride here? What is the danger of it becoming an invasive species?

  2. Erica says:

    I found one of these in Western Massachusetts tonight! Are they native to this area as well?

    • bugman says:

      Yes. They are found throughout North America, with different species in different locales. Actually, Giant Water Bugs are found throughout the world.

  3. Hcm17 says:

    My dogs found one of these tonight in our yard, we are in Benson, AZ. It was huge and creepy. Thanks to your website I now know what it is!!

  4. JL says:

    A coworker found one tonight on the football field in Tucson, AZ and by searching for the description I came across this picture, which is the spitting image of the one he found. I’ve grown up here and I have never seen one of these! Thanks to your helpful site I was able to help identify it for him (and all the other curious people on Facebook who saw the picture of it!)

  5. Brooke says:

    I live in Nebraska. While working one of these huge bugs came out of nowhere and dive bombed my coworker and myself while on our smoke break. Biggest insect I’ve ever seen. Insane!

  6. Cathleen says:

    Found one crawling across my foot at night outside my back door. Live in the woods with no real ponds etc nearby, just a few small fresh water springs.
    First time I have ever seen one, ever.

  7. Meg says:

    One of these just ran by my foot in my bathroom. He’s currently trapped under a cup by the toilet. Must admit, I screamed like a little girl when I saw it! I live in NW Phoenix area.

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