Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Horrifying Tuesday : Giant Water Bugs

It's that time of the week again, Horrifying Tuesday! This week, we're going to talk about the dreaded "Belostomatidae or more commonly known as the giant water bug. However, other than jumping out of the kitchen sink every now and then, what's the big deal? Surely, I'm not going to write ten paragraphs about how disgusting they are, right? But wait a second, I'm not talking about any ordinary water bug, I'm talking about the giant water bug.

"The hat indicates high social class."

The Belostomatidaes are one of the largest insects in the "true bug" order and is typically found in North America, South America, and East Asia. These creatures are commonly found in freshwater streams and ponds loitering around like nobody's business. These bugs however, can reach up to twelve centimeters in height, which is a awfully large size for such "exotically" terrifying creatures.

However, these creatures aren't only known for their cockroach resemblance, they're known for being one of the most fierce predators in the food chain. If you thought forcing thousands of cows to live in small farms was cruel, wait until you hear about this little guy. One perk about being a giant water bug is your ability to stalk, capture and eat aquatic fish, amphibians and most arthropods and if you feel like settling your stomach, you can easily go for a second course of baby turtles and water snakes. No Biggie.

Here's a picture of a male belostomatidae with eggs on its back. Good luck sleeping tonight.

How these small insects capture and eat these small animals is certainly a wonder. Many of these insects can be found lying motionless at the bottom of a fresh water source, waiting for prey to come nearby. After successfully finding a prey, they strike and inject powerful digestive saliva into the unsuspecting animal which helps liquefy the prey's internal organs, thus allowing the Belostomatidae to easily suck out the liquefied remains. Sounds like a good way to start the morning.

Their bite is considered one of the most painful bites that can inflicted by any insect on earth. The saliva from the bug is easily capable of liquefying human tissue and muscle, and can potentially create permanent damage to the tissue. The longer the bug is allowed to transmit it's acidic death, the worst the damage will become.  So with any insect that produces flesh melting saliva, try not to roll around in gleeful joy in a pile of them. It'll probably not be good for your health.

If you don't believe me, try eating this deliciously non-poisonous mushroom.

If the giant water bug discovers a larger predator such as Aunt Margret, they have been known to "play dead" and secrete fluid from their anuses to help confirm "death" by larger curious 'predators'. After they are assumed dead by humans, they can "come alive" when we least expect it with a vendetta.

However, these insects show a warmer side of them with their "paternal care". Many species of the Belostomatidae have been known to lay eggs on the male's wings and are carried by the male until the eggs are fully hatched. While the males wander around the water trying to avoid getting eaten, the females take the active role of finding males to mate.

Another step towards equality!

I would usually end these type of articles on a brighter light, stating that the horrifying creature is usually a nice little fellow with a powerful weapon, but today, no luck. These creatures can be relentlessly horrifying to the end of their days.