A Fun-Loving Guide to the Natural World for Kids and Adults

Mystery Bug

One of the most marvelous things about starting this nature blog has been discovering how LITTLE we know about nature!  There is so much to learn, and such a wonderful community of people willing to share.  We come across many natural mysteries, and since many of them remain mysteries, we thought we’d post some here to see if you can help us learn about them.

Our first Nature Mystery is this little creature.  We came across it in a horse arena, resting comfortably in the dry substrate.  It looked intimidating but seemed harmless when held.  If anyone knows anything about this animal, please let us know!

4 Responses to “Mystery Bug”

  1. Very nice find. It is a water scorpion (family Nepidae), a predaceous member of the true bugs (order Hemiptera). These aquatic bugs use their raptorial front legs to snatch their prey. Looking very much like praying mantis front legs, they are a marvelous example of convergent evolution. The ’scorpion’ part of their common name comes from the long ‘tail’, but they cannot sting.

  2. Thanks Ted — we were hoping you might know what this is! If you have a post about the water scorpion on your site, please feel free to write in and link to it from here.

  3. Honestly, I think this is the first post I’ve ever seen from anybody on water scorpions (not saying there aren’t any, just none that I’ve seen). They’re not commonly encountered, and few people recognize them for what they are when they do run into them. It’s an interesting group closely related to the much better known giant water bugs.

  4. Ted — thanks so much for all your information. Armed with your ID, we found a fascinating article on the water scorpion — http://www.northern.edu/natsource/invert1/waters1.htm . We’re bummed we didn’t take a photo of the underside in order to see the pressure sensors down there.

    They are pretty amazing creatures! Something to look for next time we’re exploring along a pond’s edge.

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