Largest insects in the world – Giant water bugs

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 in Size

Giant Waterbug

Credit: Ken Aycock Billings, Montana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giant Water Bugs

Lurking in tropical freshwaters the world over, the giant water bug is one of the largest and aggressive insects to be found today.

 

How big can it get?

The largest species of Belostomatidae (or giant water bug) is Lethoceus which is a half-foot of pure creepiness. Its 15 centimetre maximum length is enough to make anybody’s skin crawl.

 

What does it eat?

Primarily it dines on aquatic crustaceans and fish but recent reports suggest it also has a taste for juvenile turtles and small snakes.

 

How does it hunt?

It is as happy to stalk prey as it is to play ambush predator, meaning that its choice of food can never be safe. It features a beak-like mouth that can inject powerful saliva which acts as poison. Once it has broken skin, it sucks out the liquefied remains.

 

How dangerous is it?

It possesses one of the nastiest insect bites known to man and, in some cases, can cause permanent damage. In some parts it is known as a ‘toe-biter’ due to its penchant for biting toes.

 

How many are left?

Overall numbers are not documented but it is known that certain species of giant water bugs, including Kirkaldyia deyrolli – the turtle eater, are considered endangered.

 

Anything else?

The male in many species of giant water bugs makes for one of nature’s better fathers. The female lays her eggs on the wings of the male who carries them until hatching.

 

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