The Western Star

Sightings of giant water bugs reported

Common insect not commonly seen

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be possible targets.

A local vernacular for the bug is “toe nippers,” though Chapman says that name might not be based on many actual incidents of people wading through a pond and feeling the wrath of the giant water bug.

“I’ve never met anyone who’s been bitten by one.”

Chapman did read an article one time in which somebody — all in the name of science, of course — held one by the back and stuck their finger near its mouth. The consequenc­es were painful, according the article, he says. The one thing Chapman knows for sure is that they don’t make good roommates for each other.

“We had two live ones brought into the lab last year and we made the mistake of putting one in with the other and the one grabbed the other, stabbed it and then drained it of its fluids.”

A student who had been keeping one of them — the vitim in this case — was less than pleased, says Chapman; apparently a giant water bug has a face some people can love. It still might be best to not split the rent with one, though.

Globe trotters

Giant water bugs of varying species are actually found all over the world. If you Google them, you’ll discover they often land on dinner plates in certain countries of the world, rather than just on ponds and parking lots as in this province. The species found in this province is called Lethocerus americanus. Anybody looking to keep tabs on the insect life of Newfoundla­nd and Labrador can follow the Facebook group Insect Watchers of Newfoundla­nd and Labrador, which was started by one of Dr. Tom Chapman’s students.

 ?? — Telegram photo ?? Giant waterbugs are the largest insects in the province, according to MUN entomologi­sts.
— Telegram photo Giant waterbugs are the largest insects in the province, according to MUN entomologi­sts.

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