Water Scorpion (Laccotrephes)

See if you can find me hiding among the leaves in Bunnell’s Pond.

Description: 

Water Scorpions have dark brown flat oval bodies that are 1 to 2 inches in length resembling that of a brown leaf. They have three pairs of legs and two pairs of wings, but rarely fly. The Water Scorpion has a narrow head with tiny antennae hidden at the base of their eyes. The forearms of the Water Scorpion are used for capturing prey. They are ambush predators named for their resemblance to the land scorpion. The Water Scorpion’s long thin “tail” is used as a siphon to obtain air from the water surface, similar to a snorkel. Although they live in water, they breathe air and are not good swimmers. They have sharp, sucking mouthparts used to inject their prey with a deadly liquefying toxin, allowing them to suck up the liquid meal. These true bugs are capable of inflicting a very painful bite but it is not as harmful as the sting of a land scorpion.  

Habitat: 

Found along the bottom edges of muddy ponds or slow moving waters where they hide among dead leaves, weeds and twigs near the surface of the water to ambush prey.

Range: 

Worldwide.

Diet: 

Small fish, crustaceans, tadpoles, various aquatic insects. Pierces its prey with its beak or rostrum, injecting it with digestive enzymes, and then sucks up the meal.  

Life Span: 

Approximately 6 months.

Family Life: 
Water Scorpions normally mate in the spring. Like true bugs, they undergo simple or incomplete metamorphosis with three life stages: egg, nymph, adult. Females lay their eggs on the aquatic vegetation. The male then looks after the eggs until they hatch. The eggs hatch within 3-4 weeks. Nymphs will remain hidden while developing their respiratory tail and wait for suitable prey to feast on. Nymphs continue to grow for up to 8 weeks, at which time they have reached adult stage.
 
Status: 

Common.