Love is in the air at the National Museum of Natural History! Our scientists are helping species look for love in this series of “dating profiles” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Will #NMNHcupid help them find their one and only?
Screen Name: BellaNeedsAFella
Species: Belostoma flumineum, commonly known as a giant water bug
Age: 8 months
Location: North America
Body Type: large (for an insect!-about 2-2.5 cm long), oval, dorsoventrally flattened
About me: I am a very good flier, but I can usually be found in still or slow moving fresh water, such as a lake, marsh or pond.
The most private thing I'm willing to share: When under water, I use respiratory tubes, called airstraps, to breathe.
Favorite Food: I only eat what I can catch. Using my raptorial legs, I will ambush my prey. While I will eat most small invertebrates or vertebrates, my favorite meals are dragonfly nymphs and snails.
Looking for: Male that will be willing to carry approximately 100 eggs on his back until they hatch. Familiarity with basic childrearing techniques a plus. This may include air brooding, where the male keeps the eggs at the water surface, or brood pumping, where the male uses his hind legs to increase water flow over the eggs to ensure they receive enough oxygen. Must also provide eggs with protection from predators, especially the water bug Notonecta undulata.
By Jessica Bird, Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History