Thursday, April 8, 2010

Toe-Biter, Part II

I took a look through some of my photos in hopes of finding some that show a little more beak detail.  Hopefully these extra shots give a bit more insight into the anatomy of a giant water bug.

I have come across this insect three times in the last two years.  The first time was on my back deck.  At that time I had only read about them and seen pictures in books, but when I saw it on my railing I had a pretty good idea of what it was.  I carefully took some photos - even moved it around a bit with a pencil to try and get a better shot.  My second encounter was with one that was swimming with me in my pool while I was vacuuming it.  In my panic to get out, I dumped the vacuum and jumped out of the pool so fast it would have made your head spin.  I ended up fishing the water bug out of the pool with a net and flung it over the neighbour's fence (sorry neighbour!)  No pictures were taken that day.  My last experience was with a dead one that I found on the way home from school.  At least I think it was dead.  Through my readings I have discovered that these insects can feign death when handled, but can suddenly stab with their peircing beak at a moment's notice.  I am pretty sure that is was dead, as it seemed fairly crispy and dry.  Perhaps I got lucky.  I did manage to get some good close ups of that one, and you should be able to see the rest of its beak folded up underneath it.  To get a better look at the photos, you should be able to click on the pictures for an enlarged view. 

I look better bigger.  You should click me.....

Click on picture to make it bigger. 

October 27th Update:  

Chris Fitzpatrick sent in this photo of a toe-biter he found on its back in a parking lot.  Although I wouldn't want to get bit by one, I'm glad to hear that this one lived to see another day.  Thanks Chris!

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