Giant water bug (Lethocerus americanus)
The giant water bug is found at the bottom or in vegetation of
shallow ponds and lakes. It collects aire by placing the tip of
its abdomen at the surface. Devouring organisms as large as
tadpoles, frogs, salamanders, crayfish, and fish, these bugs can be a
nuisance to pond owners and especially to fish hatcheries. Their
saliva contains an enzyme that helps them immobilize, kill, and digest
prey. Their bit is painful, so they should be handled only with
caution. Females lays eggs on the backs of males, who will carry
them around and care for them until they hatch.
Availability: These need to be ordered and will be available
after spring break.
Housing: They can be kept in a
large jar, bucket, or aquarium with aged tap water that is at least two
inches deep. Be sure to put a lid on the container because they
can fly and you do not want to lose your project. Make sure you
only have one per container, as they may eat each other
otherwise. Put some
plastic, or real, aquatic plants in the container for the adults to
hold on to. You can add some stones or mud to anchor the plants
down with. Change the water when it starts to become soiled, or
Food: You can feed them
amphipods, brine shrimp, other aquatic insect larvae, or anything
smaller than themselves.