Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus americanus)


At up to 4 inches in length, Giant Water Bugs are the largest true bugs in North America. They possess a flat,
brown or tan oval-shaped body with overlapping wings, forming an “x” mark, forelegs with sharp-tipped claws, flattened hind legs for rapid swimming and a short, sharp beak. Like sci-fi monsters, Giant Water Bugs seize prey in the powerful, claw-tipped forelegs and pierce the bodies of their prey with their sharp beaks. They then inject a deadly toxin which paralyzes the prey and liquefies its insides. Finally, this efficient predator sucks up its liquid feast!


Shallow freshwater pools and ponds. They inhabit bottom vegetation.


Found throughout all but the most arid regions of the United States and Canada.


Insects, salamanders, crustaceans, fish, tadpoles, and occasionally small snakes and frogs.

Life Span: 

Approximately one year.

Family Life: 

Females attach up to 150 eggs in rows onto plants or surfaces above the water. bout two weeks later, nymphs hatch and begin feeding. Nymphs are eaten by many predators, including other nymphs.


Common. Since Giant Water Bugs require freshwater habitats to reproduce, they may decrease in numbers when wetlands are destroyed for development.