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.

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 cloudy.

Food:  You can feed them living amphipods, brine shrimp, other aquatic insect larvae, or anything smaller than themselves.