Aug 11, 2008

Toe-biters

You're looking at this insect and hoping it's a close up of some tiny little bug. But no. It's a giant water bug, complete with an array of eggs on her back.

I've had very painful encounters with water bugs (they pack a nasty bite). These predators (family: Belostomatidae), are also known as toe-biters, and can reach upwards of 12cm (well, some species at least). They are native to North America, South America, East Asia, and your own personal nightmare dreamscape.

Thanks for the photo, Hannah.

UPDATE: CJKlock has informed me that this is the male. The female oviposits the eggs on the male's back. My respect for the giant water bug has increased maybe a little. Oh, and they are a popular food in Thailand (I think everything's a popular food in Thailand...).

Photo source: Digg.com


14 comments:

Annica said...

Very nice to read just before going to bed... thank you...

CJKlok said...

This is actually the male. One of the few examples where 'Dad' takes care of the li'l ones. The female oviposits directly on the male's back, effectively gluing his wings togehter and confining him to the pond until the eggs hatch.


For the female to position that array of eggs on her own back with such precision would require "irreducibly complex" levels of ovipositor acrobatic dexterity.

niner said...

Why do eggs on creatures' backs' always look nasty? Eww..

meg said...

AUGHHHH BUG EGGS! AUGH! AUGH! AUGH!!!!! MY BRAIN BURNS!!!

*vomits*

*ahem* Sorry. Strong dislike for insect eggs.

Yvonne Navarro said...

And here I thought it was some kind of scrub-brush creature.

Anonymous said...

You forgot the best part: "Giant water bugs are a popular food in Thailand." (Wikipedia)

Tessa said...

Hee! Fantastic!

niner said...

Do they eat the eggs on the back too? Because that would be crunchy *and* squishy.

*boggle*

I could maybe eat something crunchy but certainly not squishy. I get squeamish around tomatoes.

Kit said...

OH! ICK! Brain bleach! Two of the grosses things, bugs and carrying gooey eggs on backs, and it's rolled up into one thing! ACK! I'm not even sure I could approach this with a 20 foot pole!

Patola said...

Not everything is a popular food in Thailand. Only those things that look disgusting or look like a part of the human anatomy.

Peter ├śrskov Madsen said...

I got inspired and made me a copy of this on Spore, http://eu.spore.com/sporepedia/view.cfm?id=500008543618&back=sp

Raging Wombat said...

That's fantastic, Peter!

Anonymous said...

Peter, your Spore water bug w/eggs is awesome. As for the real water bug w/eggs :::shudder::: The water bug himself is okay, but the eggs make me feel all icky.

Sherry at SofN

AmberJayne said...

Aww, he looks so sad! Like he's thinking "It's not my fault I bite your toes, I'm just hungry!" lol