Giant waterbugs, also known as toe-biters, are contained within the family Belostomatidae. They are generally found in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds worldwide, and consist of several species. The largest of these bugs are members of the genus Lethocerus. These particular waterbugs can exceed 4.75 inches (12 centimeters) in length.
But size is not their only defining feature. Giant waterbugs are also known as toe-biters and for good reason. They are fierce predators with sharp forelegs and a long proboscis. Using their proboscis, they can deliver a particularly painful bite.
In fact, their bite is regarded as one of the most painful bites delivered by any insect.
Luckily, while excruciating, waterbug bites are not of medical significance, since they lack venom. Bites are not deadly…unless you’re a small aquatic creature.
Giant waterbugs are not picky eaters. Any animal small enough to latch onto is fair game. They’ll devour aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles, snails, crustaceans, fish, and amphibians, as well as baby turtles, snakes, and even small birds. In the video below, a giant waterbug greedily attacks, kills, and consumes an unfortunate snake.
In addition to their unique hunting behavior, giant waterbugs display unusual mating tendencies as well, including laying their eggs on aquatic plants and stones as opposed to the backs of their male companions.
Watch Coyote Peterson let one of these toe-biters bite his toe in the painful video below: