Other Common Names
Electric Light Bug, Toe Biter, Fish Killer
Explanation of Names
Lethocerus americanus (Leidy 1847)
anterior margin of eye is bulging, posterior margin of eye is perpendicular to body axis, and eye is almost spherical; outer margin of hind tibia almost straight; width of first hind tarsal segment less than or equal to least interocular distance; anterior margin of fore femur grooved
across North America (Newfoundland to British Columbia to Utah, Nevada, and Florida) plus Mexico (2)
ponds and shallow margins of lakes containing submerged or emergent vegetation
nymphs and adults eat aquatic arthropods, snails, small fish, and amphibians
During spring and early summer, eggs are laid near or in water attached to aquatic plants, stones, leaves or rotting branches. The eggs are brownish-gray, 4-5 mm long, laid in rows. Usually 100 are found in each group, hatching in about 2 weeks. The nymphs look similar to adults but lack wings and are much smaller; they molt 5 times.
Overwinters as an adult in mud at bottom of pond or lake margin.
in L. griseus
, anterior margin of eye is evenly curved, posterior margin of eye is at an oblique angle to body axis, and eye is broadly triangular with rounded corners; outer margin of hind tibia broadly curved; width of first hind tarsal segment greater than least interocular distance (see photo
), and anterior margin of fore femur not grooved
in L. uhleri
, the middle and hind legs are distinctly banded
species are much smaller (15-30 mm) with less elongate bodies