This giant water bug, known properly by its Latin name Lethocerus americanus, was photographed at Paint Lake the last week of May.
Terry Galloway, professor and acting head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, who identified it for us, says it is “an aquatic insect found commonly in ponds and lakes in Manitoba. The adults overwinter and then disperse in spring, flying to new habitats to mate and lay eggs. Females lay their eggs in a cluster above the water line on the stems of emergent plants. They rest below the surface of the water, clinging to that plant stem and periodically climb out of the water and over the eggs to keep them wet. If the eggs dry out, they mostly die. If you find an egg mass, dangle your finger about the eggs and the adult will launch itself at your finger. Mind you be quick to get your finger back out of the way ... They have a nasty bite, normally feeding on other insects, small fish, tadpoles and frogs. I even found one in the field feeding on a snake.”
Photo courtesy of Ann Bowman