Unknown animal

Images of undisturbed subjects in their natural environment. All subject types.

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Picaflor
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Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:41 pm
Location: Uruguay

Unknown animal

Post by Picaflor »

Hello

I found this about 10cm long animal on the beach in a bit water living (in Uruguay).

Image

Any idea what this it?

Best Regards
Roger

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

This looks like a water scorpion, Hemiptera:Nepidae, possibly genus Ranatra.

--Rik

Picaflor
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Location: Uruguay

Post by Picaflor »

Many thanks Rik.

anvancy
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Post by anvancy »

looks different for a scorpion.

Thanks for sharing.
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

This "water scorpion" is an insect, a member of the "true bugs", order Hemiptera, family Nepidae.

The common name is because of superficial resemblance of some species, notably the grasping front legs and long tails. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepidae .

By the way, the common name is spelled either with or without a space, so "water scorpion" or "waterscorpion". Wikipedia has it without; the reference book on my shelf has it with; search on "Nepidae" shows about an equal split.

--Rik

Picaflor
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Location: Uruguay

Post by Picaflor »

Thanks for your informations.

Roger

Troels
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Post by Troels »

We have an identical looking species of Ranatra in ponds in Denmark too.
It takes this strange appearance when dead.
When living the two tail appendices are kept together forming a tube used for taking in air from he surface. Thus it can survive periods with low oxygen in the water.
Its two front legs are armored with Praying-Mantis-like claws and it hunts in the same manner: waiting with lifted front legs for a prey to pass close and then grasp it in a flash.

Many years ago I kept one in an aquarium for months observing it hunting and eating. An interesting guy but unfortunately it has become rather uncommon.
Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
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Troels
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Post by Troels »

I just checked the Wikipedia links mentioned aboved.
It looks like there is a little confusion about the trivial names.

The name "Scorpion bug" seems to belong to the shorter and fatter Nepa.
Indeed it is this animal we call "Skorpion taege" in Denmark.

The long and thin Rantra is called "Stick bug" at wikipedia.
Corresponding to "Stavtaege" in Danish.

They both belong to the same family Nepidae.
Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranatra :
Ranatra is a genus of generally slender predatory members of the family Nepidae, known as water scorpions or water stick-insects.
Another example of why common names are often problematic.

--Rik

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