Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What's that bug?

It's time for a new round of What's That Bug? I'll take Pond Bugs for $100, please!

We believe that the large green bug in the lower left corner of the photo is a Giant Water Bug. It's about as big around as my thumbnail, and a little longer. He and his brown water bug friend, upper right (you see both water bug and his or her reflection), either a younger bug or a slightly different variety, were captured on a pond outing with friends. Also known as "toe-biters," these predaceous bugs have been fascinating to watch. Discovering their name has motivated me to buy four-year-old gent some closed-toe pond shoes. They're called toe-biters for a reason.

We went pond-dipping with friends from swim lessons. The oldest boy is fascinated by bugs and a couple years older than six-year-old gent, making him a delightful new friend. Their mom is relaxed, funny, likes being outdoors and doesn't mind bugs, making her a delightful new friend as well.

Did I call them "predaceous?" It's fascinating to watch. Between the two giant water bugs and our new water scorpion, pictured below, the surface of our pond jar was littered with floating backswimmer carcasses. You can see a teeny water bug, bottom right. He's in grave grave danger. He doesn't seem to realize that over by the sticks his buddies have been disappearing one by one.

It looks as though both giant water bugs and water scorpions feast on their prey in a way that's very similar to spiders, injecting them with paralyzing venom that turns the bug insides into a delicious bug-bug soup.


The water scorpion:
He's sticking his bottom up to the pond surface to get some air.

I'd give him a name, but he's as long as my finger and has really long poky-looking legs, and he kind of gives me the creeps.

Kind of makes me not want to go wading. Ever again.

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