Mikro is utterly obsessed with aquatic macroinvertebrates and insects generally. Heck, anything creepy crawly floats his boat, and he has been more than happy to spend the summer reading book after book about such critters. Getting a chance to see the Giant Water Bug, a predacious aquatic insect, in real life rather than just the pages of a book, made his summer!
Mikro wants you to know that Giant Water Bugs are ambush predators who inject their prey with a venom that liquifies their insides. They have large front limbs that they use for catching prey. They are true bugs. In one genus, the male carries the eggs on his back until they hatch. Unlike water scorpions, the eggs do not have a snorkel like tube that they can use to get air. So the male Giant Water Bug (of this particular genus) surfaces from time to time to get them air. Other varieties of Giant Water Bug simply deposit their eggs of the stems of aquatic plants. Adult giant water bugs have a snorkel tube on their abdomen for getting air while submerged. Mikro learned this from his reading on the topic, especially Sylvia A. Johnson's Water Insects.
We found this video of the little nymphs hatching, which he would like you to see:
In addition to the fascinating Giant Water Bug, Mikro also saw the following cool critters at our local beach:
A cicada killer:
Aquatic snails (Greater Pond Snail and Ram's Horn Snail, he informs me):
And on the path to the beach: White Tailed Deer:
And I spotted this curious critter engaged in rather boisterous behavior in the water and out:
We love our beautiful Silver Lake, which is neither silver (mostly reflected green from the trees) nor a lake (it's a river!)
Enjoy the rest of the summer! We will!