Key to Aquatic Macroinvertebrates in Utah - Hemiptera
The Hemiptera Order are "true bugs". The name comes from Hemi meaning "half" and ptera meaning "wing". The wings of Hemipterans are either entirely membranous or partially hardened (the name comes from the organisms with partially hardened wings). Insects in this order have a specialized mouth part called a proboscis or rostrum which is used to pierce tissue (mostly plant tissue, however some members of this order are predators).
Belostomatidae (toe biters, giant water bugs)
Description: Belostomatidae have large, raptorial front legs and slender, elongated hind legs. Their bodies are flattened and have strap-like respiratory appendages. Length 2-12 cm.
Habitat: Occur in weedy ponds, and slow moving water such as beaver ponds. They are fierce predators.
Corixidae (water boatmen)
Description: Corixidae have oar-like hind legs and a scoop like tarsi on their front legs. They have dark brown or black striations on their wings. Length 3-12 mm.
Habitat: In still, slow moving fresh water. They are excellent swimmers.
Gelastrocoridae (toad bugs)
Description: Gelastrocoridae have a distinct toad-like look, protruding eyes, short antennae, raptorial short fore legs, and mottled color pattern. Length 5-10 mm.
Habitat: Found in southern Utah in riparian and aquatic vegetation, mud, or sand.
Gerridae (water skaters, water striders)
Description: Gerridae have short front legs and elongate middle and hind legs. The femur of the hind legs extends beyond the abdomen. Their bodies are dark colored. Length 3-10 mm.
Habitat: In still, slow moving fresh water, often found on top of the water.
Hydrometridae (marsh treaders, water measurers)
Decsription: Hydrometridae have greyish or pale brown, bodies, the head and legs are long and slender, eyes are located behind the middle of the head. Length 8-11 mm.
Habitat: Found in still water along the edges on vegetation.
Naucoridae (creeping water bugs)
Description: Naucoridae have flattened, dark colored bodies that appear oval from above. The forelegs are raptorial with an enlarged femora and single claw. Length 6-15 mm.
Habitat: Found in slow moving water, typically hot springs and desert pools.
Nepidae (water scorpions)
Description: Nepidae have raptorial forelegs and a long slender respiratory tube at posterior end. Their bodies may be fat and squat or long and slender. Length 15-50 mm.
Habitat: Found in ponds, typically in northern Utah.
Description: Notonectidae have oar-like hind legs without claws and a cylindrical body shape, often with ivory white color on body. Length 8.5-16 mm.
Habitat: In slow moving water and ponds. They swim ventral side up.
Veliidae (broad shouldered water striders)
Description: Veliidae has a small, broad thorax. They are similar to Gerridae, but the hind femur does not extend beyond the abdomen. Length 2-10 mm.
Habitat: Commonly found in slow moving waters, but can be found in rivers and streams, too. Typically found on the water surface.