Vicious fish-eating water bug

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Bugs. There’s barely any escaping them. Try to have a nice picnic on a sunny day and you’re sure to have a trail of ants colonize your peach pie. Forget to clean under your bed, and soon there might be the tell-tale signs of spider webs from some shadowy 8-legged fiend. It’s like there’s no place on dry land where you can get away from the pests! Maybe… I should go to a body of water to get away…

Well, thanks to the Lethocerus patruelis, that wouldn’t be a great idea. Lethocerus patruelis, or just L. patruelis for short, is the largest water bug in all of Europe. Its length can be anywhere from 3 to 5 inches long.

Europeans call this critter a “toe biter,” and for good reason; it’s an extremely aggressive little thing! They are predatory bugs, which means this insect hunts for its prey. The L. patruelis has been known to follow, capture, and kill its quarry, which includes crustaceans, fish, and frogs!

Since this thing is only 5 inches long at most, how the heck can it take down a freakin fish? Well, the darn things spit saliva that can melt the insides of its victim. As soon as it has some unfortunate prey in its grasp, the bug quickly injects these nasty juices and then slurps up the gooey goodness.

Due to recent changes in the climate, the ferocious water bug is expanding its territories northwards. To anyone living in Europe, watch your feet, you don’t want to be bitten by this toe biter!

Featured image courtesy of Mario Langourov and Nikolay Simov.