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Family Belostomatidae - Giant Water Bugs

Giant Water Bug Nymph - Belostoma Big Bug - Lethocerus americanus Belostoma in salt water - Belostoma Belostomatidae: Lethocerus americanus? - Lethocerus americanus 1011C30 - Belostoma lutarium Belostomatidae - Lethocerus uhleri Water Bug July 23 - Belostoma Lethocerus medius? - Lethocerus medius
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 (in Florida specimens, 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.

This family is said to have one of the most painful bites of any insect. See this article.
Internet References
Fact sheet (Choate & Buss 2003)(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. Env. Prot., Tallahassee, FL. 186 pp.
4.How to Know the True Bugs
Slater, James A., and Baranowski, Richard M. 1978. Wm. C. Brown Company.
5.Choate P.M. () Giant water bugs, electric light bugs, Lethocerus, Abedus, Belostoma (Insecta: Hemiptera: Belostomatidae)
6.Bright E. (2002-2011) Aquatic Insects of Michigan
7.What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families
8.University of Florida: Featured Creatures