Water Scorpion from Gambia

Big Gambian water loving bug
March 29, 2010
Hi Bug peeps, recently got married in the gambia, west africa and stayed with my mum. She often gets these huge bugs in her pool – they are about 6″ including the long tail, and when they are fished out and dried off, their underbellies are bright orange. Any ideas what they might be? I’m guessing that’s not a sting… I hope!
Alison, UK
Gambia, west africa

Water Scorpion

Greetings Alison,
This is an impressive Water Scorpion, and though the name might imply a stinger, you are correct that it is not a stinger.  The Water Scorpion breathes through that extremity, using it like a snorkel.  Water Scorpions are quite capable of producing a painful bite if they are carelessly handled, but the bite comes from its piercing beak, the means by which it sucks nourishment from any prey it captures with is raptorial front legs.

Wow, thanks Daniel!
They always seem pretty chilled out, they never try to bite –  they just have a swim, then dry off to fly off in a swirl of neon orange – they lumber along the ground but they are graceful otherwise.
I’ll let Mum know, she could not remember what the local name for them was but she’ll be glad to know what they are.
Very much appreciated!

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