Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Lethocerus americanus - Giant Water Bug

Giant Water Bug - Lethocerus americanus Lethocerus americanus teneral - Lethocerus americanus Large flat insect - Lethocerus americanus Giant Water Bug - Lethocerus americanus Lethocerus americanus (Giant water bug) - Lethocerus americanus unid. giant water bug - Lethocerus americanus Lethocerus - uhleri or americanus? - Lethocerus americanus Belostomatidae: Lethocerus americanus? - Lethocerus americanus
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)
Subfamily Lethocerinae
Genus Lethocerus
Species americanus (Giant Water Bug)
Other Common Names
Electric Light Bug, Toe Biter, Fish Killer
Explanation of Names
Lethocerus americanus (Leidy 1847)
♂ 47-57 mm, ♀ 58-59 mm(1)
anterior margin of eye bulging, posterior margin perpendicular to body axis, eye 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
transcontinental: NF-VA to BC-NV
ponds and shallow margins of lakes containing submerged or emergent vegetation
aquatic arthropods, snails, small fish, and amphibians
Life Cycle
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.
Works Cited
1.Taxonomic revision of the subfamily Lethocerinae Lauck & Menke (Heteroptera: Belostomatidae)
Perez-Goodwyn P.J. 2006. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, Serie A (Biologie) 695: 1–71.