Currently viewing the tag: "Aquatic Bugs"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Wilmington, NC
Date: 08/08/2018
Time: 01:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this in my ditch after a bunch of rainfall. We have had standing water for 2 weeks.  It has 6 legs near its head.
How you want your letter signed:  Wendy Pendill

Water Tiger

Dear Wendy,
This looks to us like a Water Tiger, the larva of a Giant Water Scavenger Beetle, which is also pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae often predatory.”   Here is a nice BugGuide posting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bugs swarming at night
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Iowa
Date: 08/08/2018
Time: 08:47 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi bug man, we live on a farm in central Iowa. The following bug has been swarming our lights at night and leaving heaping piles of dead bugs on the ground in the morning. What are these things?!
How you want your letter signed:  Becky H

Plague of Water Boatmen

Goodness Gracious Becky.
You have a plague of biblical proportions on your hands.  Even after cropping your image to a vertical, there appears to be hundreds of thousands of Water Boatmen present.  These are Water Boatmen in the family Corixidae, and your individuals look like the one in this BugGuide image from the genus
Trichocorixa.  Your submission is definite proof of the BugGuide claim:  “Adults fly to lights, sometimes in great numbers.”  Water Boatmen are aquatic True Bugs and according to BugGuide:  “Common in ponds. Also found in birdbaths. A few species live in streams, and others are found in brackish pools along the seashore above the high tidemark.”  Their food is listed as: “Algae, detritus, other aquatic organisms (mosquito larvae, brine shrimp).”  If this is the first time you have ever experienced this situation, we can only conclude that for some reason, conditions are ripe for a population explosion.  Perhaps fertilizer runoff to a nearby pond is causing an algae bloom, providing a food source for millions of Water Boatmen.  Since they can also fly, if a pond dries out, the Water Boatmen can migrate to another aquatic habitat.

Water Boatmen

Thank you for the information!  I told my husband they looked like the water bugs in our 1.4 acre pond that is right by our house!  We also live 1/4 mile from whitebreast creek.  I’m going to attach a video from this morning… biblical proportions is right!

Thanks again,

Water Boatman

Thanks Becky,
We don’t load many videos to our site, but yours is quite amazing and tells the story way better than the still image.  Glad we could assist in the ID.  Hopefully this situation will not last very much longer.

Awesome, thank you so much!
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s that bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Dublin, Ireland
Date: 08/03/2018
Time: 01:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I just found the attached on my kitchen floor and I was wondering if you could identify it please? I think it may have dropped onto the floor from an open Velux window directly above. I currently have it under a  large upturned glass.
It does have wings and occasionally tries to fly. It’s about 2 – 3 cm long. The rear legs are markedly longer and wider than its other limbs.
The temperature here is currently 25 Celcius, in case that matters?
Many thanks for any information you can give me!
Kind regards,
How you want your letter signed:  Mark Walsh


Dear Mark,
This is an aquatic True Bug commonly called a Backswimmer, and like many aquatic True Bugs, it can fly quite well, an adaptation that is quite helpful in the event a pond or swamp it is living in happens to dry out.  Based on images posted to Nature Spot, it appears it is the Common Backswimmer,
Notonecta glauca, and the site states:  “Up to nearly 2 cm in size, and commonly called backswimmers because they swim upside down and are often seen at the surface of the water. Notonecta glauca is light brown in colour with a number of dark markings and large reddish eyes. It often looks silvery as air becomes trapped in a layer of bristles covering the lower surface. The powerful oar-like hind legs are modified for swimming; they are long, flattened and fringed with hairs”  The site also states:  “Backswimmers are predators that attack prey as large as tadpoles and small fish, the forelegs, which are short and strong, are used for grabbing prey.”  Like other predatory True Bugs, they have mouths adapted to piercing and sucking fluids from prey, but they are also capable of biting unwary swimmers, leading to common names like Water Bees or Water Wasps, according to the North American site BugGuide which also notes:  “Come to lights; may invade swimming pools and become a nuisance.”  According to UK Safari:  “Adult Backswimmers are able to fly.  They hunt their prey by floating motionless on the water surface.  When they detect movement in the water they swim towards it to see if it is worth catching.  The bite from a Backswimmer can be painful as their saliva is toxic.” 

Hello Daniel,
Thank you very much for all that information and also for your time, much obliged.
We have had a much warmer and drier summer than usual in Ireland this year, so that really makes sense that a pond may have dried out somewhere…
Anyway, thanks again!
Kind regards,
Mark Walsh,
Lucan, Dublin, Ireland.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  ???
Geographic location of the bug:  North Carolina USA
Date: 07/31/2018
Time: 03:50 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  What the heck is it been in NC my whole life never seen it before
How you want your letter signed:  Hey Joe your bug.


Hey Joe,
We can’t believe it is the beginning of August and this is just the second Toe-Biter or Giant Water Bug image we are posting this year.  The Toe-Biter is an aquatic predator that also flies quite well and is attracted to electric lights.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Help identify Hamish
Geographic location of the bug:  Priest Lake, Idaho
Date: 07/08/2018
Time: 08:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this big creepy crawly on one of the docks on the lake. We asked a few Park rangers and even they couldn’t tell us what he was. We’d love to know what kind of creature Hamish Armadeus Thompson III is.
How you want your letter signed:  Simpson Cousins

Dragonfly Naiad

Dear Simpson Cousins,
This is the aquatic larva of a Dragonfly known as a naiad.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wild Lookin Turtle Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Upstate NY
Date: 07/03/2018
Time: 06:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Earlier this week (6/29) came across a bug that I have never seen before, and neither has anyone else that I have talked to!
I was on a beach by a lake in the Adirondacks, and in the sand I saw what I believed to be a very small turtle shell. Upon picking it up, I realized that it was not a turtle, but a large insect! It was about 1.5 inches long, the front 1/3 of the insect looked like a large ant or beetle , and the rear 2/3 looked exactly like the shell of a small turtle.
I did not have a camera or phone with me so I do not have a picture, and I have been unable to find anything close online.  I know that you have said that it is unlikely that you can ID the bug without a picture, but I just had to ask.  I attached a drawing if that is of any help.
Any ideas you have would be great, thanks!
How you want your letter signed:  Chris

Drawing of a Dragonhunter, we believe

Dear Chris,
At first we thought your drawing resembled a Spider, sans a pair of legs, but your excellent written description, including finding it on the shore, leads us to believe this is a Dragonhunter naiad, the aquatic larva of the Dragonfly
Hagenius brevistylus.  It is thought that its shape causes it to look like a submerged leaf, helping it to capture prey.

Thanks for the quick response and great identification, that is exactly what I saw! I am super impressed with both your insect knowledge and amazing “customer service”!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination