Subject: 4 legged aquatic “Walking Stick”bug?
Location: Concord, MA
August 21, 2016 7:29 pm
While kayaking along the Concord River (Concord, MA) on August 21, 2016 I encountered this 4 legged insect atop a clump of decaying, floating weeds. At first the thought of a “Walking Stick” came to mind. But upon closer examination noticed the 4 legs (4 legs?). It was also about 4 inches long (body). Definitely not a Walking Stick! So what is this bug? I apologize for the picture qualities as I was moving (wind/current) and trying to capture this insect with a telephoto lens in a macro attempt.
This unusual aquatic insect is a Water Scorpion in the genus Ranatra. Though only four of the legs are used for walking, the front pair of legs are raptorial, and they are used to capture and hold small aquatic creatures while the Water Scorpion sucks the life sustaining fluids from the body of the prey. Water Scorpions are also capable of flying from pond to pond which comes in handy if conditions cause one pond to dry out.