Thursday, July 3, 2008

Giant Water Bug

This is for the other Shawna of Nervus Rex:
This is a Giant Water Bug. The pic is from Wikipedia. They live in ponds and lakes hanging around at the bottom waiting for some unsuspecting fish, insect, tadpole or other creature to come by. They grab 'em, inject saliva which liquifies the animal from the inside, and then suck out lunch. They travel from pond to pond looking for mates and are sometimes found out of the water as they are attracted to lights. They range in size from about 1 inch to 5 inches. The largest I've seen was about 3 inches.

They sound and look pretty gruesome but they're interesting bugs. They sometimes play dead if you try to pick one up. They need to come to the surface of the pond to breathe air and the female lays her eggs on the back of the male who then carries them around until they hatch. They're excellent and fast swimmers and their bite packs a powerful punch.

My neighbour, Kay, knows of my interest in six legged creatures. She found one of these things last year outside our building and had a friend take a picture of it for me. A copy was made for her which she promptly slid into an envelope and then under my door. She wouldn't even look at the picture, she was so bothered by it. God love her.

Because they usually lie in wait at the bottom of ponds or hanging onto a stick, they are sometimes difficult to find. At the Wookie's pond, I'll stand on the edge with a long stick or bulrush and gently poke the bottom to see if I can stir anything up. Once in a while I am rewarded when one of these creatures swims away.

For Pa: The Museum of Natural History in Halifax has an excellent guide to our frogs and other amphibians. Actually, they're an excellent source for almost anything that moves in this province. And all summer long they've got a butterfly pavillion which we'll be checking out soon.

Harkoo: The bee story from last week was pretty big. It could have been a lot worse than it actually was, but the weather contained the bees for the most part and although there were several stings, no one suffered from allergic reactions and the driver of the truck was OK, too.

Which leads me to this: one of my earlier posts "God is an Iron" can be heard on Charles' podcast. Aside from black flies and mosquitoes, I have not been bitten or stung by other insects. With God's sense of irony, I suspect I'll die, not from natural causes, but from anaphylactic shock after a bee sting.

S.

6 comments:

Denver Refashionista said...

Wow, you all seem to know a little something about everything.

Shauna said...

DR,
The secret is Wikipedia. My degree was in psychology (a minor in biology) so I know enough to be dangerous. When I see something interesting I look it up. Which means I spend half my life looking things up. :)

S.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

The Web means that there are no dummies anymore., only people who didn't Google something. :-)

That said, it still takes someone to read it.

Charles-A. Rovira said...

Next week starts with a couple of shows (one weekly one in French and the Monday show) about Paul Otlet.

He was a Belgian information scientist before there were information scientists and had the misfortune of living during the second world was.

If he'd been around when Tim Berners-Lee was creating the browser (Mosaic came before Netscape,) the web would be a lot better organized.

Google's searches would be a lot more coherent.

Shauna said...

Charles,
Now I have to go look up Paul Otlet...

s.

Nervus Rex said...

OY! That's quite the beauty! Yum yum... the thought of pulling up to the Water Bug Booster Juice and ordering a Salamander Smoothie... Mmmmmm, pass the straws!

I'm going to be poking sticks in the water all summer now... Gotta find one of these!