Nepidae

Waterscorpions can be distinguished by the presence of a long respiratory tube at the end of the abdomen, and the raptorial front legs. The body shape is flat and broad (Nepa) or rounded and linear (Laccotrephes, Ranata). These bugs live in aquatic environments where they are carnivorous on other insects and small animals. They usually remain in shallow water among vegetation, with only the breathing tube piercing the water surface. They have well-developed wings but seldom fly. These bugs occur in ponds or other small bodies of water in peridomes-tic habitats. Some Laccotrephes and Ranata species may be useful in controlling mosquito larvae in the urban environment. They will bite when handled. Ranata stridulates under water by rasping areas on the front leg coxae and coxal cavities.

Laccotrephes grossus (= L. kohlii) Adults are 30-35 mm long and 7-9 mm wide. Body is brown to dark brown. Eggs are laid in spring and again in summer; females deposit about 1.6 eggs per day, and fecundity is about 100 eggs. Hatching is in 12-13 days. Development ofthe five instars takes about4odays. Adults and nymphs overwinter. This species occurs throughout China, southeastern Asia, and India. A closely related species, L. maculatus, occurs in Java, India, Taiwan, and Japan. Both L. grossus and L. maculatus are efficient predators of mosquito larvae.

Nepa apicauda Adult body is about 16 mm long, and the breathing tube is about 6 mm long. The body is brownish gray, broad, and somewhat flattened and thin. The front legs are distinctly raptorial. Adults and nymphs live in shallow bodies of water with emergent vegetation. Eggs are inserted into dead or decaying plants; they are distinctly oval and have seven filaments at the top. This species occurs in eastern USA.

Ranata fusca The adult body is about 24 mm long and nearly uniformly brown to dark brown. Eggs are laid in spring through summer, and hatching occurs in about 11 days. Development in the laboratory from egg to adult takes about 36 days at about 27 °C and a light/dark ratio of 16:8. Predation of mosquito larvae by nymphs may reach 33 per hour. Adults overwinter. There are two generations per year. This species is distributed across northern USA and southern Canada.

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