“Just Keep Swimming, Swimming” 4 Aquatic Insects

Insects are known to be the most diverse species, residing in different environments all over the world. It’s no wonder why many households have pest control on their speed dial! With so many insects in so many habitats, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find out there are different aquatic insects you may never have heard of.

Each one is unique, with different abilities that make them stand out from the rest. Learn about them and their interesting traits as you read on about these wonderful, water loving species.

Whirligig Beetles

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The Whirligig beetle was given its name due to the circular motion it usually swims in. Of the 1,100 species of the Whirligig Beetle group, 20 can be found in Australia. To distinguish them from other beetles, take note of their short, clubbed antennae.

They are known for being able to live in and on water. The Whirligig’s eyes are split in a way that enables them to see both under and above water. They avoid becoming prey by diving when predators come from above, and surfacing when predators come from below.

Whirligig Beetles are found in fresh water and feed mostly on other insect by capturing prey using their elongated front legs. They sometimes work as scavengers, finding their food through waves caused by a struggling or moving insect on the water. If in a group, the beetles will crowd in on a meal and take turns biting.

Water Boatman

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A Water Boatman is typically found in fresh or brackish water. There are 525 species of Water Boatman and 132 of those are found in North America.

Water Boatmen are often confused with Whirligig Beetles, who deliver a painful bite. These herbivore insects carry air bubbles to draw oxygen from when they are underwater. They are fast swimmers but spend most of their time clinging to aquatic plants.

To attract a mate, male Water Boatmen rub their pecker against its abdomen. This makes them the noisiest insect because this produces 78.9 decibels of sound, the same as a passing freight train. You won’t be able to hear this because a good amount of noise is lost when it passes from water to air.

Mayfly

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There are about 3,000 species of Mayflies belonging to the ancient insect group of Palaeoptera. They are a primitive species, exhibiting certain traits that may have been present in the first flying insect. If you see them in a body water, take it is a good sign as Mayflies reside only in fresh, clean, and unpolluted water.

For most of their life, Mayflies live as nymphs and have an important function in the overall freshwater ecosystem as part of an energy transfer cycle by being able to prevent an increase in algae and other organic matter, they are also food for many species including frogs, water beetles, fishes, and birds.

Mayflies are the only insects to develop wings at an immature stage. They do not have any digestive parts like a mouth as their only function is to reproduce, after which they die. When threatened, they raise their tails like a  scorpion and if the initial tactic does not work, Mayflies extend their tails over their bodies to appear larger.

Water Strider

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The Water Striders resemble a mosquito walking on the surface of the water. They move rapidly across the surface as if they are gliding.Any insect on the water, whether living or dead, is part of the strider’s diet.

Their legs serve different functions: their short front legs are responsible for grabbing on their prey, their middle legs are for movement, and their hind legs are for steering. Water Striders are sensitive to motion and vibration on the water’s surface. They not only use this to detect prey, but as a way to communicate  by sending ripples of water to each other.

Water Striders prefer quiet or slow-moving bodies of water. Because they do not have wings, they can be found under tree shade and they keep moving so as not to be prey themselves.

There are various kinds of aquatic insects existing today and each one  has an important role in the ecosystem. If you’ve seen any of these insects, tell us your story in the comments below.

Like a Black Widow Baby! 5 Lethal Spiders to Look Out For

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One of mankind’s most common fears are spiders. Of course, there’s a reasonable explanation behind it. They’re odd crawlers that come up to your shirt unknowingly, ready to spring a surprise by moving up to your face. But there’s also one other thing that makes spiders sinister: they can be lethal.

Now, not all spiders are lethal; even your pest control services knows that. But there are some spiders whose venom can you send you to convulsions, or worse, to death. It’s important that we familiarize ourselves with these lethal eight-legged creeps to know which ones we can shoo off, and those we can probably live with.

Red-back Spider

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This Aussie arachnid is a member of the genus Latrodectus, commonly known as the widow spiders. Female red-back spiders have a distinct red or orange stripe on their upper abdomen and an hourglass-shaped red or orange mark on the underside of their abdomen. Male red-backs are light brown with a white marking on their upper abdomen and a pale hourglass mark on the underside. These spiders are mostly nocturnal and prefer warm and sheltered places like logs, sheds, or anywhere near humans.

Females can grow up to 15 mm long while males can only go up to 5 mm long. Females are also the only one capable of harm since male red-backs have such short fangs they couldn’t penetrate the human skin. Their diet mostly consists of insects caught in their webs as well as young snakes, frogs, and mice.

Funnel-web Spiders

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Funnel-web spiders got their name from the funnel-shaped webs they build. Size-wise, males are lighter than females. Both are covered with a hard and glossy carapace with thinly distributed hair.

Because of their fang size, the Funnel-web spider’s bite will be very painful and  bleed. Symptoms usually occur minutes after the bite and will get rapidly get worse from there and include sweating, a tingling sensation around the mouth and tongue, salivation, twitching, watery eye, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure.

Black Widow

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Like the Red-back spiders, the Black Widow spiders are members of genus Latrodectus. Its defining feature is a red hourglass mark on the underside of its abdomen, and a shiny black body. They are mostly found in North America and considered to be the most dangerous spider in the region.

Black Widows can be found in dark areas like  garages, basements and woodpiles. They are nocturnal; however, they spin their webs during the day. They usually hang upside down in their web, showing the red mark on their abdomen as a warning to other insects and animals.

You won’t feel much pain when  bitten, just a pinprick sensation but fifteen minutes to an hour, you wills start to feel pain in the area where you were bitten. It will be a dull muscle cramp that spreads from that area to the rest of your body. The symptoms that follow are difficulty in breathing, extreme muscle cramps, sweating, salivation, high blood pressure, and vomiting, among others.

Brown Recluse Spider

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Native to the South and Central United States, the Brown Recluse Spider is famous for their appearance. Also called Fiddleback spiders, the distinct violin-like markings on their cephalothorax are what make these spiders famous. Another distinguishing physical characteristic are their eyes. While most spiders have eight, the Brown Recluse has only six,  arranged in two lateral pairs.

The Brown Recluse is extremely poisonous, but because only a small amount of venom is injected when bitten, they account for just a few spider bite cases. Their venom is toxic to cells and tissues that can lead to necrosis or tissue death. The venom can also affect the immune system in a way that the inflammatory agents that combat diseases may do more harm than good.

If bitten by any of these poisonous spiders, immediately seek medical attention. Remember, most spiders are harmless to humans but it is best to be aware on which ones are harmful and always be on the lookout for them.

Pest Wars: When Two Master Huntsman Spiders Cross Paths

The Sparassidae or huntsman spider is among the best spiders ever to crawl the earth. Big, fast, powerful, they’re great predators in the insect world. They come in many species and though most of them seem hostile to us humans, some of them can act as some sort of pest control for your home since they have an appetite for cockroaches. Well, if you can stand having them in your home, that is.

Let us introduce you to two known species of huntsman spiders: the Giant banded huntsman spider and the Jungle huntsman spider. Despite both being members of the Sparassidae family, these two have been arch-nemesis for God knows how long. And when a clan member meets the other, only one comes out alive! Here are the contestants:

Giant Banded Huntsman Spider

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The Holconia or Giant Banded Huntsman Spider (GBH for short) is among the largest members of the Sparassidae family, reaching up to six inches across or larger! Its legs are specially designed to hinge sideways, enabling it to lie flat as well as to jump in any direction. Its legs are also bristled with thin, fine hairs that detect prey, making the Holconia a walking seismometer. Aside from its legs, the GBH is also equipped with two monstrous fangs as well as a set of eight keen eyes! It’s a sit-and-wait hunter, and when something comes within its range, it runs after it with incredible speed and grabs it. All these makes the Giant Banded Huntsman Spider a formidable opponent to mess with. Sometimes, though, even the great Giant Banded Huntsman Spider meets its match!

 

Jungle Huntsman Spider

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What it lacks in size, the Jungle Huntsman Spider (or JH) makes up for in speed. The JH is equipped with every arsenal the GBH has, plus two secret weapons. The Sparassidae family is known for being quick, able to run and react faster than other spiders. However, the Jungle Huntsman Spider is the fastest of them all with its “hydraulic” legs! Blood flows through each limb, inflating it and increasing pressure and jumping power. Its second arsenal is stealth. Due to being smaller than other members of the Sparassidae family, it can easily hide within its surroundings.

 

Hunter or Hunted

When these two opposing master huntsman spiders cross paths, it’s only a matter of time before they start ripping each other’s limbs off. The duel can go either way since both are capable and vicious predators. On one hand, the Giant Banded Huntsman Spider is bigger and stronger. On the other hand, the Jungle Huntsman Spider is faster and stealthier. At the end of the day, whichever spider lives or dies depends on which between them is faster and stronger. Mind you, the first spider to get its underbelly skewered would likely end up as the other’s free meal.

 

Spiders go to war like any other insects, and sometimes civilian casualties include us humans who want nothing more than to rid our homes with these pesky creatures. So the next time you sense these arachnids prepare for battle, better make sure that your nearest pest control is at hand to make sure that things don’t get out of hand!