General Description

This species of giant water bug has front legs like a praying mantis (raptorial fore legs), where the prey are trapped between the first two leg segments. The middle and hind legs are flattened and fringed with hairs and are used for swimming. Body length is 1.5-2.5 cm.

Biology

Giant water bugs are strong swimmers and active predators. However, they prefer to sit and wait for their prey. They eat a varied diet and will probably attack anything they can subdue. Large individuals of some members of this group will attack small frogs and fish. Eggs are glued by females to the back of the males, who carry them until they hatch. Like top predators in other ecosystems (e.g. lions), giant water bugs are unlikely to be very abundant and usually only one to two individuals can be found in a water body. This group of water bugs, the belostomatids, are the largest aquatic bugs and can reach 7 cm in length.

Distribution

Throughout Australia but usually close to the coast.

Habitat

Often found amongst submerged water plants.

More Information

  • Animal Type

    Freshwater insects

  • Animal SubType

    Insect adults

  • Fast Fact

    Like top predators in other ecosystems (e.g. lions), giant water bugs are unlikely to be very abundant and usually only one to two individuals can be found in a water body.

  • Brief Id

    Large swimming bug with an oval- shaped, flattened body.

  • Colours

    Brown

  • Maximum Size

    2.5 cm

  • Habitats

    Freshwater, Wetland

  • Diet

    Carnivore

  • Hazards

    Giant water bugs can bite humans. The bites are not harmful, but produce a burning sensation, which can last for some hours.

  • Endemicity

    Native to Australia

  • Commercial

    No

  • Taxon Name

    Diplonychus eques

  • Scientific Author

    (Dufour, 1863)

  • Common Name

    Giant Water Bug

  • Kingdom

    Animalia

  • Phylum

    Arthropoda

  • Class

    Insecta

  • Order

    Hemiptera

  • Suborder

    Heteroptera

  • Family

    Belostomatidae

  • Genus

    Diplonychus

  • Species Name

    eques