Tag Archives: toe biter

Giant Waterbug/Toe Biter

15 Jan


Like my new hair accessory? Now, before anyone goes warning me about this bad boy “biting” me, I’ll let you know it’s dead. I found it that way. And if you don’t know what this beautiful creature is, it’s the Giant Water Bug (Lethocerus insulanus). Or more commonly known as the Toe Biter, in many parts of the world.


These guys feed in water (although they can fly)on small fish, tadpoles and your toes, should you step in the water. Just kidding…sort of. 


As you can see in the picture, their front legs have a small hook like claw, helpful when pulling in prey. They feed (put simply) by sticking their mouthpart, known as a rostrum, into their prey,  injecting a saliva that helps liquify it, and then sucking it up.

And I’ve heard rumor that a piercing from one of these guys is quite painful. But aren’t they stunning to look at?

Would the real Toe Biter please stand up!

23 Jun

Alright, so I’ve been promising to clear up this confusion about what is considered a ‘toe biter’ here in Australia. (And in America, as I’ve recently found out.)

So, contrary to what I’ve been told (by a few Aussies) the following picture is not a toe biter, but a mole cricket…and nothing to fear.

mole-cricket1Photo credit: http://en.wikipedia.org

As I discussed in this post —-> HERE, what is commonly referred to as a toe biter is actually a Giant Water Bug.

WebPhoto credit: http://australianmuseum.net.au

Scary looking, right? And sure, if you were swimming in a lake and this guy swam by, you might scream like a little girl. These guys can get up to around 7cm in length (that’s around 2.75 inches) so for a “bug”, that’s too big for some people. And they’re even bigger in South America!

Now, I’m sure you noticed those pincers he’s got at the front. Those are used to grab their prey before they go in for the kill with their rostrum, or mouthpart, that they have tucked neatly underneath them. And it’s said these guys give a whopper of a sting if they get a hold of you, one of the worst, in fact. But you will live so don’t panic…too much.

And as if worrying about these guys in the water wasn’t enough, the adults can, and do fly. Perfect, huh?

But don’t fret, they are also known to play dead when threatened. Although after being bitten by what I thought was a dead Huntsman, I wouldn’t put it past these guys to take you on.

And just because I LOVE big bugs and like to freak people out, I’m going to post this:

giant water bug

Photo credit: http://www.oddballdaily.com

Sweet dreams!

What is it?

11 Jun

 One thing I’ve noticed since moving to Australia, is that when you ask someone what something is, if they know, they are more than happy to tell you. I’ve also noticed that even if they don’t know, they’ll still give you an answer.  (I could be talking mainly about my husband here)

Now, when I first saw this bug, many years ago, I assumed it was an alien of some sort.  Truly, what bug has hands??? Well, this one does.

mole-cricket1  Even as a lover of all that is creepy and crawly, this bug grossed me out a bit.  It was hiding underneath the rug outside of the shower and decided to make an entrance when I stepped out.  And besides when a bee buzzes around my face, this was one of the few times I screamed and ran like a little girl.  I mean, come on! They look weird!

But after asking some people what it was, I was told it was called, da da dummmmm…

The Australian Toe Biter.

But here’s the rub…it’s not.  This guy is actually a mole cricket.  (Makes sense now, doesn’t it?) And unlike the ‘toe biter’ (which is actually just a colloquial term) these guys are quite harmless.  Now, you’ll probably read or hear that they can bite, and if you are brave enough to hold one, it may feel that they do.  But as my friend Asti and I found out, when you hold them, they use those tiny little mole hands of theirs to try to dig their way out.  But they do not bite.

Mole crickets are like other crickets in that they stridulate (rub the combs on their legs together), they mate, they’re called crickets…kidding.  But, as you can see, they don’t look a whole lot like your average cricket.  Which is why most people are fooled.  And because of this imposing physical appearance, they have been erroneously tagged ‘toe biter’ by at least a few people here in Australia.

So, curious now what the legendary ‘toe biter’ actually looks like? Well, I’ll show you and be sure to look for a post on it tomorrow.


Photo credit: http://australianmuseum.net.au