Giant Water Bug Click to enlarge image
Giant Water Bug, Lethocerus insulanus Image: Andrew Donnelly
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    insulanus
    Genus
    Lethocerus
    Subfamily
    Lethocerinae
    Family
    Belstomatidae
    Super Family
    Nepoidea
    Infraorder
    Nepomorpha
    Order
    Hemiptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    7 cm

Introduction

These bugs are formidable underwater predators. When hunting, Giant Water Bugs breathe using a syphon at their rear end which acts like a snorkel

Identification

These bugs, are the giants of the bug world - adults may be up to seven centimetres long.

Habitat

Giant Water Bugs live in fresh water, usually in still waters such as lakes.

Distribution

Giant Water Bugs are found in eastern Australia and the Indo-Pacific.

Feeding and diet

The Giant Water Bug positions itself head-down on a submerged plant stem and hunts by ambush, taking tadpoles, small fish, frogs, snails and aquatic insects. It catches prey with its grasping forelegs before piercing the body with its sucking mouthparts.

Other behaviours and adaptations

They fly between hunting sites and are attracted to lights, including car headlights. They are known to occasionally bite humans when disturbed - a very painful experience.