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unknown bug - Lethocerus medius

unknown bug - Lethocerus medius
Ingleside, San Patricio County, Texas, USA
September 15, 2010

Images of this individual: tag all
unknown bug - Lethocerus medius unknown bug - Lethocerus medius

Moved from Lethocerus.

Moved from ID Request.

Starting just this very week here in Erath County, TX I too have begun to see many of these insects at my workplace and had also wondered what they were so I too caught one.

A friend of mine took it to the local colleges entomology department for proper identification and it was identified as a Giant Water Bug.

Upon further personal research I came to find that it belongs to the family Belostomatidae and lives in or near water sources.

Through my reasearch I learned that this bug not only can fly but it can also inflict a very very painful bite as well which can cause swelling for up to two weeks or so and possibly secondary infections that can lead to other complications. Therefore, caution is advised when handling it.

Typically it prays on small fish, frogs, salamanders and even small birds, as well as other insects that it kills by injecting them with digestive saliva that causes the tissues to liquify so that it can suck out the liquid remains.

When praying on fish it tends to go straight for the eye first so that it can liquify it's brain in order to kill it quicker. After sucking out the brains, etc., it will move onto a different location and do the same until it gets done with it.

Humans are not ever its intended pray but if you are in its territory and attract its attention or make it feel threatened it will bite humans as well. Therefore another common name for it is, "Toe Biter" because it has been known to bite humans who end up wading or standing near the water it lives in, usually on the foot.

Apparently some people chose to keep this insect in a secure container with water and oxygen as pets and feed them feeder goldfish and crickets. Escape from it's container is possible however so caution should be taken to make sure there is no way it can escape and become loose within the home. Some zoos have them as well.

Also, they typically grow to be around 3 - 4 inches long here in the United States and in some countries they grow big enough to apparently be eaten and are considered a delicacy.

Hope this information helps.

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