Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes


TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Family Belostomatidae - Giant Water Bugs

Giant Water Bug - Belostoma flumineum Belostomatid male with eggs - Belostoma lutarium - male Giant Water Bug - Belostoma lutarium Giant Water Bug sp.? - Belostoma Lethocerus americanus? - Lethocerus uhleri giant water bug - Belostoma Giant water bug nymphs Giant Water Bug - Belostoma
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Infraorder Nepomorpha (Aquatic Bugs)
Superfamily Nepoidea
Family Belostomatidae (Giant Water Bugs)
Other Common Names
Electric Light Bugs, Toe Biters, Fish Killers
Numbers
19 spp. in 3 genera in our area(1), ~160 spp. in 9 genera worldwide(2)
Size
the largest Heteroptera: 13-75 mm (Abedus are 13-15 mm, Belostoma, 15-30mm, and Lethocerus, 40mm or more)(3); 9-110+ mm globally(2)
Identification
Illustrated keys provided in(1)(4)(3)(5)(6)
Range
widespread(1), most diverse in the tropics(7); in our area, across the US and adjacent Canada, but more diverse in so. US
Habitat
ponds, shallow margins of lakes and rivers with submerged vegetation and detritus(1)

Often attracted to lights.
Food
aquatic arthropods, snails, small fish and amphibians(7); can attack prey many times their size(2)
Internet References
Fact sheet by P.M. Choate(8)
Works Cited
1.Aquatic Insects of North America
R. W. Merritt, K. W. Cummins, M.B. Berg. 2008. Kendall/Hunt.
2.Biodiversity of the Heteroptera
Henry T.J. 2009. In: Foottit R.G., Adler P.H., eds. Insect biodiversity: Science and society. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell: 223-263.
3.Identification manual for the aquatic and semi-aquatic Heteroptera of Florida
Epler J.H. 2006. FL Dept. of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee, FL. 186 pp.
4.How to Know the True Bugs
Slater, James A., and Baranowski, Richard M. 1978. Wm. C. Brown Company.
5.Giant Water Bugs, Electric Light Bugs, Lethocerus, Abedus, Belostoma (Insecta: Hemiptera: Belostomatidae), by Paul M. Choate
6.Bright E. (2002-2011) Aquatic Insects of Michigan
7.What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families
8.U. of Florida and Dep. of Agriculture Website