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Nepomorpha authority files added to the plant bugs database

posted Apr 24, 2012, 12:14 PM by Chantal-Marie Wright
The valid names of eight families of the Nepomorpha are now available in the plant bug database authority file.  The names were extracted from  Catalog of the Heteroptera, or True Bugs, of Canada and the Continental United States,  Henry, Thomas J., and Richard C. Froeschner, eds.

Belastomatidae:  The belostomatids, or giant water bugs, prey on tadpoles, larvae, and the occasional frog or fish.  The males of some genera carry their eggs on their backs until hatching.

Lethocerus medius (Guérin-Méneville, 1857)
©  David Bygott

:  Corixids are also called water boatmen, as they use their wide hind legs to 'paddle' along near the bottoms of lakes and ponds.  Most feed on algae and aquatic plants, and some are adapted for saltwater environments.

Hesperocorixa atopodonta (Hungerford, 1927)
© Donald S. Chandler

Gelastocoridae:  Only two genera of gelastocorids are found in North America.  Known as toad bugs for their looks and hopping behavior, they can be found at the margins of ponds and streams.

Nerthra nudata Todd, 1955  (found in Australia)
© American Museum of Natural History

Naucoridae:  The creeping waterbugs live mostly in lakes and rivers, crawling along the bottom and among plants.  If found in a damp place inside the house, they should not be mistaken for cockroaches - they can inflict painful bites.

Pelocoris femoratus (Palisot de Boisvois, 1820)
 © Donald S. Chandler

Nepidae:  Although no relation, the Nepidae are called water scorpions.  They breathe through a tube at the rear of their abdomen which sticks out of the water and catch prey with their grasping forelimbs.

Curicta pronotata Kuitert, 1949
© BIO Photography Group, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario

Notonectidae:  Unlike the water boatmen, the Notonectidae are 'backswimmers' - they use their long hind legs to swim upside down through the water.  Some species use internal air bubbles to control their depth in the water.  Nototectids wait for their prey in still ponds and lakes.

Notonecta undulata Say, 1832
© Donald S. Chandler

Ochteridae:  Many ochterids are dark with blue and gold spots, earning them the name 'velvety shore bugs.'  Only one genus (Ochterus) occurs in North America, where it can be found next to streams and lakes.

Ochterus banksi Barber, 1913
© American Museum of Natural History

Pleidae:  Unlike some of the Notonectidae, the pygmy backswimmers in the family Pleidae cannot control their depth, and are often found clinging to underwater plants.  They feed on small prey such as mosquito larvae in slow-moving or still water.

Neoplea striola (Fieber, 1844)
© BIO Photography Group, Biodiversity Institute of Ontario