So did you have any ideas for last week’s puzzler? This aquatic insect can be found throughout the world, with the most species occurring in North and South America, Eastern Asia and Northern Australia.
It is a Giant Water Bug or Lethocerus americanus. Some species can grow more than 4 inches long! but most are around 1.5 inches. Some other common names include”toe biter” and “electric light bug.” Of course the first name is easy to explain and should make you wary of handling it! I have never been bitten by one, but I have heard they have a painful bite. Their other common name, electric bug light comes from the fact that they are often attracted to lights and may show up on your front porch some hot evening.
Giant Water Bugs live in water but have wings. Many people are surprised to learn they can fly (like water striders, another aquatic insect) and will do so to find new bodies of water.
The one pictured in last week’s puzzler is a MALE. Interestingly, females glue their eggs onto the backs of their mates and the male will carry these around with him, protecting them from predators, until they hatch into nymphs. This is an unusual habit in the world of insects!
Giant Water Bugs are fierce some predators, able to kill a variety of aquatic animals including minnows, dragonfly, damselfly, stonefly nymphs, tadpoles and other invertebrates. They usually sit motionless and wait for something to come by but will also actively stalk and capture prey. When they grab something, they use their sharp beak to inject enzymes that will dissolve the body tissues of their unfortunate prey.
Do you know your animal sounds? Test your knowledge with the next puzzler!
Have a great weekend! Happy Father’s Day to all of those Dads out there!