Giant Water Bug
Location: Calgary, AB
Date: Sept. 17, 2005
       Photo 1

Common Name:  Giant Water Bug

Latin Name:  Lethocerus americanus (Leidy, 1847)
     (R. Bercha, det.)

Length:  46 - 52 mm

Range: Throughout Alberta

Habitat:  Marshes and slow flowing waters

Time of year seen:  Summer  (Additional Sightings)

Diet: Insects, fish and tadpoles

Other: The Giant Water Bug is a common inhabitant of ponds, marshes and slow moving waterways. It is a voracious predator which ambushes other aquatic life. The bug is suited to this way of life with it's dark green brown coloration and body shape giving it the appearance of a dead leaf.  When an unsuspecting aquatic insect or small vertebrate (frog, tadpole or small fish) swims to close the Bug seizes it with its hooked front legs and plunges its beak into the preys body, injecting digestive fluids. A short while later the preys innards are liquefied and the Bug sucks out the "soup" leaving an empty husk. Giant Water Bugs can fly and are attracted to light. Caution should be used when handling them as they can inflict a painful bite.  It is Alberta's largest aquatic insect. (Eaton, 2007 & Borror, 1970)


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