What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange Large Injured Beetle
Location: Northern burbs of Atlanta
May 13, 2014 1:28 pm
Spotted this large fellow last night outside my kids’ karate studio. I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m always on the watch for interesting insects. I’m assuming based on body type, number of legs and what look like two sets of wings this is a type of beetle. The front two legs looked like pincers. He was distressed on his back at first. When I flipped him he hobbled and seemed injured on his back leg. We move him out of the way of over-reacting karate kids and parents and hope he was able to make a recovery. My kids and I would love help identifying this large insect.
Signature: Resa



Hi Resa,
Commonly called a Toe-Biter, this Giant Water Bug is an aquatic predator, and it is classified as a True Bug, not a Beetle.  Though aquatic, Toe-Biters are capable of flying from location to location, which is helpful when vernal ponds begin to dry out.  Because of your efforts to rescue this impressive creature, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Atlanta, Georgia

One Response to Toe-Biter

  1. Mary Anne says:

    In Brookshire TX, an agricultural community outside of Houston, I lived in a small subdivision surrounded by rice fields. My roommate had a juvenile Doberman who hadn’t yet decided when he should be sure of himself and when he shouldn’t. One night in the back yard he began barking very intently at something on the ground. I went out to check, and he had found one of these Toe Biters, an amazingly large bug I had never seen before. My initial instinct was to rescue the bug from the dog, but it quickly became clear that this wasn’t necessary. This bug was fierce! Each time the Doberman would get his nose close enough, the bug would “box” at him with those front arms, and the dog would yelp and jump back. This went on for some time, and in the end, the Toe Biter’s fearlessness and boxing skills won out over the Doberman. It was an amazing event to witness.

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