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Family Belostomatidae - Giant Water Bugs

Giant Water Bug Nymph - Belostoma Giant Water Bug Nymph - Belostoma Big brown bug - Arizona Chiricahua Mountain - Lethocerus medius Toe biter - Lethocerus americanus Giant Water Bug - Lethocerus medius Water Monster - Lethocerus medius Toe Biter Giant Water Bug - Abedus indentatus unidentified  - 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)
Food
aquatic arthropods, snails, small fish and amphibians(7); can attack prey many times their size(2)
Remarks
Often attracted to lights.
Internet References
Featured Creatures - P.M. Choate and L.J. Buss, UF, 2003
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