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LACCOPTREPHES JAPONENSIS
WATER SCORPION

EMBEDDED IN CLEAR RESIN

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Classification

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Hemiptera

Family: Nepidae

Genus: Laccotrephes

Species: L. Japonensis

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WATERBUG IDENTIFICATION

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LACCOPTREPHES JAPONENSIS

Laccotrephes is a genus of water scorpion belonging to the family Nepidae. They are carnivorous insects that hunt near the water surface. They are not aggressive, but may inflict a painful bite if not handled carefully, which may cause a local reaction. There are about 60 species found in shallow stagnant or slow-moving waters in warm parts of Africa, Asia and Australia.

They are dark brown to rufous brown, elongate and flattened, aquatic insects with hooked raptorial forelegs and a long, thin tube protruding from the tip of the abdomen. The respiratory siphon consists of two filaments which are extensions of the eighth abdominal tergum. These in unison form an air duct which takes in air from above the water surface. Air is fed via the tracheal system and spiracles on the dorsum of the first abdominal segment to an air store under the elytra.

In temporary wetlands void of large fishes, large aquatic heteropterans play a significant role as the major predator of aquatic . Nepidae are reported to feed on a variety of aquatic organisms such as aquatic insects and tadpoles . In Japan, the water scorpion, Laccotrephes japonensis , is known as large bodied (28-38 mm in body length) and an important predator for both pest control and conservation. L. japonensis is an active mosquito larvae predator.

Nepidae is a family of exclusively aquatic Heteropteran insects in the order Hemiptera.They are commonly called water scorpions for their superficial resemblance to scorpions, due to their raptorial forelegs and the presence of a long slender process at the posterior end of the abdomen, resembling a tail.

While water scorpions do not sting with their tail, they do have a painful bite , but this is much less harmful to humans than a true scorpion's sting.

Nepidae are found on all continents except Antarctica. They mostly inhabit stagnant or slow-moving freshwater habitats like ponds, marshes, canals and streams.

Nepidae are brown insects, but some species have a bright red abdomen that can be seen when the wings are open. Their body is broad and flat (subfamily Nepinae) or long and thin (subfamily Ranatrinae). They are rather poor swimmers and typically crawl about on aquatic vegetation. They can fly, but this is infrequently seen. In most species the body is between 1.5 and 4.5 cm long, although the largest such as the East Asian Ranatra chinensis and South American R. magna can approach 6 cm.

Respiration in the adult is achieved by means of the caudal process, which consists of a pair of half-tubes capable of being locked together to form a siphon. Air is conducted through it to the tracheae at the apex of the abdomen when the tip of the tube is thrust above the surface of the water ,similar to a snorkel. In some species the siphon is longer than the body, but in others it is shorter, in a few even less than one-tenth of the body length. In immature forms the siphon is often underdeveloped and respiration takes place through six pairs of abdominal spiracles.

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