the seashore above the high tidemark. They swim rapidly and somewhat erratically, and spend much time clinging to submerged vegetation. Most species feed on algae and other minute aquatic organisms. They do not bite man.

BACKSWIMMERS Family Notonectidae Identification: Resemble Corixidae but dorsal surface of body convex and often light-colored, without dark crosslines; front tarsi not scoop-shaped. 15 mm. or less.

Backswimmers are so named because they swim upside down. They are common insects in ponds. They swim in a less erratic fashion than water boatmen and spend much time resting at the surface, the body at an angle and the head down. They feed on

other aquatic insects, and sometimes on small vertebrates. If handled carelessly they will bite, and the effect is rather like that of a bee sting.


Identification: Slender and elongate with long slender legs (Ranatra) or elongate-oval (Nepa, Curicta). Front legs raptorial. Terminal abdominal appendages long, slender, forming a non-retractable breathing tube. Usually 20-40 mm.

Waterscorpions in the genus Ranatra are brownish and resemble walkings ticks. They are common in ponds. Our only species of Nepa (N. apiculata Uhler) is elongate-oval; it is widely distributed but not very common. Two species of Curicta occur in the Southwest; they are somewhat more elongate than Nepa. Waterscorpions are predaceous on other insects, and can inflict a painful bite if handled carelessly.

GIANT WATER BUGS Family Belostomatidae Identification: Brownish, oval, flattened, about 1-2 in. Front legs fitted for grasping prey, hind legs somewhat flattened. Terminal appendages short, retractile.

These bugs are fairly common in ponds, where they feed on various insects and small vertebrates. They can inflict a painful bite. Females of Belostoma (about 1 in.) lay their eggs on the back of the male, which carries them around until they hatch. Most larger giant water bugs belong to the genus Lethocerus; they lay their eggs on aquatic vegetation. Members of this group sometimes leave the water and fly about, and are often attracted to lights.

CREEPING WATER BUGS Family Naucoridae Identification: Dark brown to brownish black, oval, 5-16 mm. Membrane of FW without veins. Front femora greatly thickened.

These bugs are fairly common in ponds, where they feed on various aquatic animals. They can inflict a very painful bite if handled carelessly.

TOAD BUGS Family Gelastocoridae Identification: Small toad-shaped bugs, 10 mm. or less. Ocelli present. Front legs shorter than middle legs.

Toad bugs occur along the shores of ponds and streams, where they feed on smaller insects. They resemble toads in appearance and hopping habits.

VELVETY SHORE BUGS Family Ochteridae Not illus.

Identification: Oval-bodied, 4-5 mm. Velvety bluish or black. Ocelli present. Antennae exposed. Front legs similar to middle legs in form and length. Beak long, extending at least to hind coxae.

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