chapter  22
6 Pages

Giant Water Bugs (Belostomatidae)

Belostomatid bugs (giant water bugs) are medium-sized to very large (10 to 110 mm) brownish aquatic bugs. They are dorsoventrally flattened and have strong, thick, raptorial front legs and broad, flat middle and hind legs fringed with swimming hairs. The head is drawn out in front of the eyes as a triangular extension (Polhemus 1982). The visible rostrum is three segmented. The tarsi are two or three segmented. Ocelli are absent and the four-segmented antennae are usually concealed in pockets beneath the head. These bugs obtain air with a pair of retractable, straplike appendages at the abdominal apex. Some aspects of the structure and process of breathing are given by Miller (1961, 1977) and Parsons (1972a,b, 1973).