RE: NANFA-- Bite, Sting...? Collecting near Columbus, OH

Hoover, Jan J ERDC-EL-MS (
Tue, 29 May 2001 12:19:37 -0500

Adult water beetles do not normally bite. I've handled all types, and have
kept some of the large predaceous diving beetles (Dytiscidae) and water
scavenger beetles (Hydrophyllidae), and have not been bitten. The larvae,
however, can deliver a painful nip.

One biting bug that has not been mentioned, but could be the culprit Mark
encountered, is the creeping water bug (Naucoridae), also called "toe-biter"
or "gator flea." An attractive green oval-shaped bug, Pelocoris, is abundant
in hevaily vegetated, swampy waters of the eastern US. Because of its small
size, it sometimes escapes undetected (and unidentified) by its victim. In
1939, Edward T. Boardman wrote "It is much more pugnacious then it looks.
When picked up in the hand it will give a painful stinging bite. If trapped
inside one's clothes, it crawls along giving a succession of bites that
produces the vivid impression of a passing, red-hot branding iron."

[I may have posted this before - but believed it was appropriate - please
excuse any repetition]

>>I'm not exactly the authority on water bugs or spiders, but I know
some people who are really interested in them. I'd like to see a giant water

beetle in an aquarium, that would be interesting.<<

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