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Giant water bug

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#1 ecost2014

  • NANFA Guest
  • Alberta

Posted 21 November 2022 - 03:16 PM

As far as I know, southern Alberta only has one species of giant water bug (Lethocerus americanus).


The insect that I collected appears to be an immature giant water bug without fully developed wings. In the identification key's my college has access to, one tarsal claw on the forelegs is the main distinguishing characteristic. However, my sample has two tarsal claws on each foreleg.


My research as to what species it could possibly be has been continual dead ends. If anyone has any suggestions on a species it could be or just a genetic mutation, they would be greatly appreciated.



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#2 centrarchid

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 23 November 2022 - 09:21 AM

Do you have access to the following article?



Find ways for people not already interested in natives to value them.

#3 swampfish

  • NANFA Member

Posted 25 November 2022 - 10:43 AM

There is an identified image on the BugGuide website of a Lethocerus americanus nymph at https://bugguide.net...1427255/bgimage. I enlarged the image, and each of the front tarsi definitely has two claws.


As I remember from my Ph.D. research on plant bugs (Heteroptera: Miridae) of honey locust, the number of tarsal claws changed during nymphal development. First instar nymphs had one tarsal claw; older nymphs and adults had two tarsal claws per leg.  


I looked at the 1963 article suggested by Centrarchid, but did not see any info on tarsal claws. Although it verifies your understanding that the only Lethocerus in your part of Canada is L. americanus. 


Phil Nixon

Extension Entomologist Retired

University of Illinois

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