Giant Water Bug
Brownish, oval, flattened, about 45-60 mm (1-2inches). Front legs fitted for grasping prey, hind legs somewhat flattened for swimming. Wings at rest are held flat over the body. Forewings are thickened and leathery with membranous tips. The hind wings are membranous, fanlike and fold under the forewings when at rest. Mouth parts are fitted for piercing and sucking. Mandibles and maxillae present as long, slender stylets enclosed in a downward-projecting beak. Palps lacking.
GEOGRAPHICAL RANGE AND HABITAT:
Northern half of California. Common in ponds.
Various insects and small vertebrates such as tadpoles, fish, snakes.
LIFE CYCLE/SOCIAL STRUCTURE:
Females lay eggs on aquatic vegetation.
They have strap-like breathing appendages at the end of the abdomen. To obtain air, they raise the tip of the abdomen to the water surface and extend the two tail-like breathing tubes.
Hemiptera are known as the True Bugs. The members described here belong to the suborder Heteroptera, nearly all of which may be recognized by the characteristic "X" on the back formed by the dissimilar parts of the folded wings. May leave water and fly about. Since they are often attracted to lights they are also known as the Electric Light Bug.
STATUS IN WILD: