University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Mystery Bug Answers


Mystery Picture #15

(Mystery Pictures)(Mystery Pictures)


The damselfly is often found flying just beyond reach over the water's edge. It spends the first half of its life underwater as a nymph eating other small water-dwelling insects and animals. Once the nymph is fully grown, it crawls out of the water to undergo its final molt. The adult only lives three to four weeks.


The giant water bug is one of the largest insects to live underwater. Species found in the United States can be up to 2 1/2 inches long. Some South American species can reach lengths up to 4 inches! Although they are common in ponds and lakes where they feed on other insects, snails, tadpoles, and small fish, they may leave the water to fly around in the air. These insects have an interesting family life. In some species, the female lays her eggs on the back of the male. The male carries the eggs around until they hatch. Be careful if you come across one of these insects because they can inflict a painful bite.

Return to Mystery Bugs

This page is maintained by Pat Dillon, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. Please send questions or suggestions to: