Saturday, April 26, 2008

Water Scorpion, A Cool Wetland Bug!!

Water Scorpions are insects in the Order Hemiptera (the true bugs), Family Nepidae, and the genus is Ranatra. Note the front legs which are modified for grasping prey. They inject their prey (including insects, small fish, and tadpoles) with saliva which digests tissue after which the mixture is sucked out. You can see the beak between the front legs. The long tube on the rear of the abdomen is used for breathing from the water surface so they tend to stay in shallow water or near the surface. Although they can't be seen, a pair of wings is hidden beneath the leathery outer wings, and they can fly. Water Scorpions overwinter as adults. This one was found at Sandpiper Pond on April 26.
Head and front legs


Windy said...

Wow, glad I'm not a tadpole...don't think I would want to meet this guy in a dark pond.

Ed Martin said...

Sept 4, 2009: I found this interesting friend in my swimming pool in Germantown, TN. He/she hung around for a couple days and then disappeared.

Ed Martin

David said...

I'd really like to use the water scorpion photo for a story I have this week about water quality monitoring. Do I have permission, Cary? If so, what's your full name so I can give attribution?

David Green
State Line Observer
Morenci, Mich.