Giant Water Bug Eats Fish: Lethocerus Patruelis Devours Prey From The Inside Out [VIDEO]

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 31, 2013 4:03 PM EDT

water bug
The giant water bug Lethocerus patruelis is a capable of eating entire fish or even turtles. (Photo: Nikolay Simov)

Scientists have captured amazing footage of Lethocerus patruelis, the biggest European water insect, ambushing and eating a fish.

The three-inch water bug belongs to a family of insects called Belostomatidae, which is more commonly known as electric light bugs or toe-biters. The water bug's bite is painful to humans, but is harmless beyond the sting.

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The water bugs feed on crustaceans and small fish, and have even been known to snack on the occasional turtle and even snake.

"These bugs are fierce predators which stalk, capture and feed on aquatic crustaceans, fish and amphibians," according to a press release accompanying the video. "When they strike, they inject strong digestive saliva, sucking out the liquefied remains to feed."

The scientists who shot the video, Nikolay Simov and Mario Langourov from the National Museum of Natural History at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, were studying the reproductive system of the male Lethocerus patruelis. The results of that study were published yesterday in the journal ZooKeys.

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