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Lethocerus americanus23.jpg
Lethocerus americanus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Belostomatidae
Subfamily: Lethocerinae
Genus: Lethocerus
Mayr, 1853

See text

Lethocerus is a genus of the hemipteran family Belostomatidae, known colloquially as giant water bugs, distributed throughout the tropical, subtropical and temperate areas of the world.[1][2] The greatest diversity of species occurs in the Americas. It includes the largest true bugs with species reaching a length of over 11 centimetres (4.3 in). Lethocerus sp. are distinguished from other genera in the Lethocerinae (Benacus and Kirkaldyia) by two symmetrical furrows in the inner pad of setae on the fore femur, the external borders of parasternites II and III narrowed and nearly straight, and with the setae of the tarsomeres following the line of the tibial setae.


Unlike giant water bugs in the subfamily Belostomatidae, females do not lay the eggs on the backs of males.[3] Instead, after copulation (often multiple sessions[3]) the eggs are laid on emergent vegetation (rarely on man-made structures) high enough above the waterline that the eggs will not be permanently submerged. The male will then guard the eggs from predators and periodically bring water to the eggs to prevent their desiccation.


As of 2006, this is an exhaustive listing of all known species of Lethocerus:[2]


  1. ^ D. R. Lauck & A. Menke (1961). "The higher classification of the Belostomatidae (Hemiptera)". Annals of the Entomological Society of America 54: 644–657. 
  2. ^ a b P. J. Perez-Goodwyn (2006). "Taxonomic revision of the subfamily Lethocerinae Lauck & Menke (Heteroptera: Belostomatidae)". Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. A (Biologie) 695: 1–71. 
  3. ^ a b N. Ichikawa (1988). "Male brooding behaviour of the giant water bug Lethocerus deyrollei Vuillefroy (Heteroptera: Belostomatidae)". Journal of Ethology 6 (2): 121–127. doi:10.1007/BF02350877. 

Due to the size of the Hemiptera stubs category, they have been further sub-divided into suborder templates. Please use the correct stub tag for each article as listed below: