What Is The Largest Bug in Michigan?
If you thought you were gonna click into this article to read about impressive bug facts from a self-professed bug nerd, boy were you wrong.
I. Hate. Bugs.
All of em.
Just know, as a disclaimer, that I put myself through serious discomfort scrolling through images of bugs that are much, much, much too large for acceptable existence on my planet.
No, this is a simple exercise to answer the question in the headline and tell you what you need to know about that bug. That bug is the Giant Water Bug.
Nope. No thank you.
Okay, for the actual info on these bugs. Growing as large as 4.7 inches long, Giant Water Bugs are in fact the largest "true" bugs in not only Michigan but North America according to the Oakland County Blog. If you don't like how big that thing is next to the finger in the picture above, just know this guy is holding it in that link.
That's apparently an awful idea, as seen in the comments of this Reddit post where someone inquired about the species of this horrendous creature.
Knowing the bite is excruciatingly painful is one thing. Knowing what a bite does to your flesh is another. From the Oakland County Blog:
... a seemingly endless appetite is equipped with a rostrum, a beak-like projection that is used to pierce flesh and then inject a potent enzyme that poisons and begins to digest the victim while it’s still alive. Once the enzyme does its work and liquefies the internal parts of the sometimes still squirming victim, the rostrum is used to suck up the slurpee-like partially digested soupy mix of flesh. That’s not science fiction; that is science and the ambush hunting behavior of the Giant Water Bug.
WHY is this thing allowed to exist?! I have yet to see the age-old excuse that it takes care of other nuisances or harmful species. No, it seems like this guy is just a jerk. According to the Oakland County Journal, the pain of the bite subsides after five hours for humans.
The video below is time timestamped to when this guy gets bitten by a Giant Water Bug. So, ya know, viewer's discretion is advised and all of that.
It lies in wait in shallow water where it can ambush unsuspecting prey and foolishly barefoot humans, hence the other name "Toe-Biters". It defies nature by using snorkel-like breathing tubes on its abdomen that help air get to spiracles all over its body.
And before you ask, no its wings are not for decoration. They can fly. They usually stay underwater, but when they do fly they are attracted to light, hence another nickname, "Electric Light Bug."
I can't wrap my head around this next fact, but I'm not here to culture shame. And honestly, biting back what will definitely bite you first isn't the worst logic. Some cultures in Southeast Asia do in fact eat Giant Water Bugs, calling the snack maeng da (แมงดา). Read more about the practice at the link.
In all seriousness avoid this bug at all costs.
Glutton for punishment? Check out these other 20 oversized bugs from across the planet.