Facts About Water Bugs
Water bugs are one of the strangest and intimidating insects nature has to offer.
As big and creepy as they may appear at first sight water bugs really don’t deserve that much hate.
While not as beautiful as a butterfly, water bugs are built to be excellent warriors. Although, this may be just another reason to make them seem frightening, there are tons of interesting things that make water bugs stand out. Be it physically, characteristically or even romantically, water bugs are pretty amazing creatures.
Here are some interesting facts about water bugs you may be surprised to know:
The giant water bug is considered to be the largest true bug in the world.
The giant water bug is a species of water bugs that are considered to be the biggest of the Hemiptera, or true bug, in the world. This is because they can grow up to be 4 inches long and sometimes even 5! However, they’re mostly found in the northern regions of South America.
Giant water bugs are not always giant.
As surprising as it may be there are even further types of giant water bugs. Various species in the sub-family of Belostoma are typically small and not giant at all. Growing up to a centimeter or half an inch these giant water bugs are tiny pests but are still fearless predators regardless of their size.
Water is not the only habitat of water bugs.
While water bugs are rightly perceived to be aquatic insects, water is not their only abode. They are attracted to bright lights so they often tend to cozy up in brightly lit places such as porches, parking lots, street lights, and neon signs.
Also, water bugs can make themselves at home in human houses! Leaking faucets or accumulating wood and compost in a garden could be their invitation to your house. They may also find their way in through crevices in your house’s walls and windows.
Water bugs can avoid floods.
Normally aquatic insects and creatures don’t know how to avoid floods. Water bugs, on the other hand, know precisely how to avoid floods. They crawl out of the water and perpendicularly walk towards the bank until they have found shelter.
Water bugs can avoid floods before they even happen, so it only goes to show how intelligent these bugs really are.
Water bugs have a huge appetite.
From smaller insects like ants, mosquitoes, tadpoles, and crickets to much bigger animals like fish, crabs, and frogs, the appetite of a water bug has an assortment of prey. Water bugs do not only prey on so many creatures, but they also devour a lot, irrespective of their sizes. The giant water bug in particular, even the smaller ones, tend to eat 50 times their own size!
On the most bizarre facts about water bugs is while water bugs tend to feed on the other aforementioned creatures, they may also exhibit a cannibalistic behavior sometimes.
In the face of extreme hunger or a shortage of food in the area, water bugs may turn on each other for food.
They may eat each other, each other’s eggs, and even their own eggs if the need arises. The female Lethocerus may also tear apart the eggs dumped by other female water bugs if there aren’t sufficient males guarding them or carrying them on their backs.
Water bugs mate for several hours.
The mating process is perhaps one of the most interesting facts about water bugs. It is a long process starting with the male water bug doing small push-ups underwater.
These are often perceived to direct vibrations via water which the female water bugs then respond to. Once the male and the female find each other, the actual mating begins. After mating, the female water bug mounts on the male’s back and produces a small batch of eggs.
The male water bug then swings her off. Following this they mate once again. The female again mounts on the male’s back and lays some more eggs, and so the entire cycle of mating and laying eggs continues over and over. Water bugs mate for so long that sometimes it takes up 6 hours!
The male water bugs are ideal fathers.
Once the female water bug lays her eggs on the back of the male water bug she’s done with her side of motherhood. The male will then carry those eggs on his back, and babysit them until they finally hatch.
In addition to carrying them on his back, the male water bug also gives them air now and then so as to prevent algae or fungus from growing on them. The males further engage in a practice called ‘brood pumping’ in which they make water move over the eggs to increase oxygen diffusion.
Water bugs are merciless savages.
One of the more frightening facts about water bugs is without a doubt their imposing appearance and physical characteristics.
With hook-like claws and a razor-sharp beak, water bugs are considered to be one of the most merciless predators in the animal kingdom.
They use their front legs to firmly hold their prey and use their claw and beak to pierce through their victim. A single bite from these waters bugs is sufficient to kill their prey because of the powerful toxin that they inject in them. This toxin first paralyzes their prey and then liquefies the victim’s insides. The water bugs can then slurp it up for their meal.
Water bugs are excellent actors.
The typical skin color of water bugs camouflages them with plants to protect them from predators. Water bugs often even play dead when they are in close proximity to predators, humans or any kind of perceived threat. They will even do this around prey in order to startle them with a surprise attack!
Waters bugs are alternatively known as toe biters and electric light bugs.
If they’re in close proximity to humans, and they feel threatened or startled, water bugs may bite humans on their toes. This earned them the nickname of toe biters.
Water bugs may look like ferocious pests to steer clear of, but their bite doesn’t really cause any disease. However, their bites cause sheer pain and discomfort, so it should be treated right away.
Water bugs are also lured in by bright lights. They tend to live around neon signs, street lights, porches, and car parks. So they are referred to as electric light bugs too.
Related Article: Roles of Water Bugs in the Ecosystem
Interesting facts about water bugs, right?! While they may be fierce looking creatures that should be treated like any other pest, the many interesting facts about water bugs may make you think twice about them though.
From being perfect warriors and husband material to hungry biting machines and occasional cannibals, water bugs never fail to amuse us.
More Related Articles About Water Bugs:
- Do Water Bugs Bite or Cause Disease?
- Facts About Water Bugs
- The Life Cycle of Water Bugs
- What Attracts Water Bugs and How to Prevent Them
- How to Get Rid of Water Bugs in the Swimming Pool
- Roles of Water Bugs in the Ecosystem
- Types of Water Bugs
- Giant Water Bug: The Beast of Pests
- How to Get Rid Of Water Bugs