True Bugs

Click on an image below to view the image at a larger size.

Belostomatidae (Giant Water Bugs)

Abedus herberti mating

Abedus herberti mating.

Lethocerus indicus

Lethocerus indicus eating a small fish

Lethocerus indicus eating a small fish

Lethocerus medius

Lethocerus medius brooding eggs

Abedus herberti

Abedus herberti

Belostoma flumineum

Belostoma flumineum

Abedus herberti

Abedus herberti

air straps

Abedus herberti. Arrow points to the air straps.

Lethocerus medius

Giant water bug

true bug bealk

Giant water bug mouthparts. The arrow points to the piercing-sucking mouthparts.

giant water bugs

Lethocerus medius hatching

image from class

An experimental setup withAbedus herberti.

Lethocerus medius eggs

The eggs of Lethocerus medius

Abedus herberti

The giant water bug Abedus herberti exposing its air store to the water. The silvery parts of the image is the air.

Abedus eggs

Abedus herberti eggs, up close!

Abedus egg top

Abedus herberti egg top


Abedus herberti micropyles

Abedus egg top,showing aeropyles

Abedus herberti egg top

aeropyles and plastron network

Abedus herberti aeropyles and plastron network

giant water bug

Giant water bug, Family Belostomatidae, Abedus herberti

Abedus cannibalizing eggs

A male Abedus herberti cannibalizing his own offspring after he scraped them off his back.

Belostoma micantulum

Belostoma micantulum, a small giant water bug from Argentina

Giant water bug

Lethocerus medius

giant water bugs mating

Giant water bugs mating (Abedus herberti)

water bug dad with eggs

Water bug dad with eggs

Abedus herberti

Abedus herberti

Lethocerus indicus

Lethocerus indicus

Lethocerus medius

Lethocerus medius

Diplonychus rusticus

Diplonychus rusticus

Belostoma micantulum

Belostoma micantulum eating a mealworm.

Abedus herberti at surface

Abedus herberti at surface, collecting air

Exposing the air store

Abedus herberti exposing the air store during the gaping behavior

shallow treatment

Abedus herberti breathing

Abedus herberti

Abedus herberti in its standard underwater pose.

Abedus breathing

Abedus herberti gaping

Abedus herberti at the surface

Abedus herberti at the surface

Abedus herberti

A giant water bug, Abedus herberti, male with eggs

Cicadellidae (Leafhoppers)


Something as common and mundane as a leafhopper represents the amazing beauty of nature!

Cicadidae (Cicadas)


Cicada - Cacama sp. (likely valvata)


Cicada - Cacama sp. (likely valvata)



cicada setaceous

A cicada's setaceous antennae (Cacama valvata)

Cicada molt

Cicada molt (Tibicen cultriformis)

Cacama valvata cicada

Cacama valvata cicada


Cicada portrait (Tibiscens cultriformes)

Coreidae (Leaf Footed Bugs)

Giant mesquite bug (Thasus neocalifornicus)

Giant mesquite bug (Thasus neocalifornicus)

leaf footed bug

Leaf footed bug

Leaf footed bug

Leaf footed bug

Dactylopiidae (Cochineal Bugs)

prickly pear paddles

Prickly pear paddles covered in cochineal.

Cochineal bug female (Dactylopius)

Fluff on prickly pear.

Cochineal bug waxy fluff on prickly pear.

cochineal in fluff

Cochineal bug female in fluff.

Prickly pear

Prickly pear cactus with cochineal bugs evident.

Gelastocoridae (Toad Bugs)

toad bug

Toad bug, Family Gelastocoridae, Gelastocoris sp.

Naucoridae (Creeping Water Bugs)

creeping water bug

Creeping water bug, Family Naucoridae, Ambrysus sp.

Nepidae (Water Scorpions)

Water scorpion

Water scorpion, Family Nepidae, Ranatra quadridentata

Rantra respiratory siphon

raptorial forelegs

Raptorial forelegs

Ranatra head

Ranatra head

Skinny legs

Water scorpion legs

Water scorpion, Ranatra quadridentata

Water scorpion, Ranatra quadridentata

Notonectidae (Backswimmers)


Backswimmer (Family: Notonectidae)

Pentatomidae (Stink Bugs)

stink bug

Stink bug

Reduviidae (Assassin Bugs)

true bug

Zelus renardii assassin bug

A quick note about permissions. I am more than happy for people to use my photos in presentations, educational materials, and websites, but please acknowledge me if you do.  All images posted on websites should include a link to this blog.  I spend a lot of time and effort photographing these insects, so please be kind and let people know where you got your images.  If you wish to use them in print materials, please leave a comment below (you will be asked to enter your e mail address, which only I will be able to see) and I will contact you by e mail regarding permission.  I keep the images I post here small and relatively low resolution to save space, but I can provide higher resolution, larger photos for print if desired.


Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright


13 thoughts on “True Bugs

  1. Thank you so much for the info on Giant Water Bugs. I found one in my pond this summer and had no idea what it was. I called it [to myself]…a giant water bug …when I took it into work to show. Needless to say I laughed out loud when on line I found that it truly was a giant water bug! But I did not find much more info after that. I stumbled onto your blog today, thank you so much for the great photos and information! I am a biological illustrator and draw more fish/mammals….not many bugs/insects. Though once in the field I saw the most amazing dragonflies in Iowa…when they hovered their wing pattern was a checker board….truly stunning, and they were huge! Do you know the name of that dragonfly [I was staying at Iowa State, Lakeside field study area, Lake Okaboji? I have never seen them in Ohio…

    • You’re welcome! And I always joke that giant water bugs have the least creative name on the planet, so it amuses me to hear that you named them properly yourself based solely on their appearance and where you found them. Funny! As for the dragonflies… I’m not all that familiar with the dragonflies in the Midwest, so can you give me a little more information? Was the pattern on the wings black and white checked? If so, I would imagine the dragonflies you saw were likely twelve spots. You can see what they look like here: If that doesn’t look right, let me know and I’ll see what else I can come up with!

  2. When the dragonflies I mentioned above ‘hover in flight’ is when the checker board pattern happens…like a flip book…not when they are at rest. I will try and contact my friends who I worked with then and see if I cannot come up with a name for us. Thanks for your response and thanks for the great ‘bug guide’ link….I can use that in the summer with my little friends who are always asking …what is this! we check out what is at/in my pond.

  3. There’s something having to do with leaf footed bugs that’s been bothering me… Do they eat meat? One time I observed a leptoglossus occidentalis slurping a polyphemus moth caterpillar’s innards, which surprised me because they have such a long, flimsy proboscis. Everything I’ve read doesn’t mention them eating anything but sap from unripe pinecones.

    • Leaf footed bugs are related to assassin bugs, which is why they look a lot like them, but they’re herbivores and not carnivores like the assassins. They’re still capable of biting, but they’re plant suckers and not eating live animals, so they’re relatively harmless.

  4. Hi, you’re site’s awesome!
    How did you photograph the picture with the caption “Giant water bug, Family Belostomatidae, Abedus herberti?” (Or the photo captioned “Creeping water bug, Family Naucoridae, Ambrysus sp.,” which has no shadow.) The white background is really nice and so is the detail on the insect. How did you light the picture? And how did you position the bug to stay still? I’m trying to photograph a bunch of aquatic macroinvertebrates like this for a lab project, so I’m wondering what is the best way to do it.

    • Hello!

      The water bug was taken through the side of a small aquarium, as I’m going to assume you learned by reading the other post you commented on. The creeping water bug was actually taken in a white bowl with just an overhead light. I simply waited until it sat still before I took the shot! I brightened up the whites in Photoshop and cropped to get rid of the shadow, but if you took the photo with a flash, the light would bounce back up off the bottom of the bowl and likely eliminate a lot of it without having to process it afterwards.

      Hope this helps!

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