More giant water bugs eating

I’ve been super busy with work recently and haven’t had time to put together one of my normal, long-ish blog posts.  But, I wanted to get SOMETHING up this week!  This will be short on words, but hopefully big on the wow value.

Several weeks ago, I wrote a post on giant water bugs eating and included a video of the medium sized species we have in Arizona (Abedus herberti) eating a mealworm that I gave it.  That post details how giant water bugs eat, so I recommend that you check it out for more detailed information on what you’ll see here.  Abedus herberti isn’t nearly as big as another Arizona native, Lethocerus medius, and while it’s mode of eating is still impressive, it’s nothing compared to what L. medius can do.  Species in the genus Lethocerus are the largest true bugs on the planet and are real powerhouses when it comes to taking down vertebrate prey.  These bugs are big, so they can eat really big things like snakes, turtles, frogs, fish, and birds.  So, in my insect behavior class we fed a goldfish to the Lethocerus medius we’d been experimenting with all semester, a goldfish that was about the same length and likely much heavier than the bug.  The bug hadn’t eaten for over a week to prepare it for the goldfish demonstration.  This was the result:

Now if that isn’t the coolest thing ever, I don’t know what is!  This right here should be enough to convince anyone that giant water bugs are the best insects one Earth.  (Okay, okay – so I’m a little biased!)  Now normally this bug would just sit in one spot and wait for food to swim by (they’re called sit and wait predators for a reason), but not this one.  He was so hungry he actually hunted down and captured his food before eating it.

Next up will be my one-year anniversary post.  I can’t believe I’ve been at this for a year already!  This calls for a celebration.  I might even give something away as a reward for sticking with me this long…

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © 2010 DragonflyWoman.wordpress.com.

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8 responses to “More giant water bugs eating

  1. That was awesome – even better than feeding my tiger beetle larvae!

    Congratulations on your 1-year blogoversary.

  2. Pingback: Circus of the Oiled Spineless #51 | Deep Sea News

  3. Totally fascinating. Just proof I’ll have to keep scrolling!! Think I’ll start with your first post and work my way to the present. I’ll sit in front of a crackling fire (Yes, in June!) and take my time. ~karen

  4. Amazing video. The bug looks awfully muscular–sort of a Popeye bug.

  5. I think you may have answered my question about a huge beetle-like insect I saw in a creek in the Bloody Basin area near Cordes Junction, Arizona. Is that possible? I just wanted to know what the insect was so I can use it for background detail in some outdoors stories I am writing. Thank you, Mark

    • We have both the water bugs and some really big predatory beetles in the Bloody Basin area. However, the beetles are going to look a bit different, behave differently, and be found in different types of water than the water bugs. Did the insect you saw look like the water bug in this post? (Let me direct you to a top view photo: http://dragonflywoman.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/identifyingbelostomatids/abedus-herberti-2/) Was it in flowing water or in a distinct, isolated pool within the creekbed? And was it moving around or mostly staying in one place while it ate? If it looked like the water bug, was found in flowing water, and stationary while it ate, water bug is the best bet. You can sometimes find the big beetles in that area, but not usually when the water is flowing. The beetles look different – usually narrower bodied, and thicker top to bottom compared to the water bugs (dome shaped as opposed to flat), and are mostly green on top. And, they tend to move around a lot more than the water bugs.

      Hope this helps! Are you writing fiction or non-fiction for your stories? And are they going to take place in AZ? How exciting!

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