Warning: Beware of toe-biting insects in the Santa Monica mountains

- A warning for bare-footed hikers. Beware of the toe-biting insect!

The rangers in the Santa Monica mountains say the toe-biters are giant water bugs that can grow up to four inches long.

Belostomatidae is a family of Freshwater Hemipteran insects, known as giant water bugs or toe-biters.

The eggs are typically laid on the male's wings and carried until they hatch. These daddies keep their babies moist, clean and safe from predators. They also can't mate during this period. Meanwhile, females are looking for males to mate with.

These fascinating insects are found in streams in the Santa Monica mountains and, as their name implies, they are capable of biting human toes. The bite is very painful!

They also have quite the personality. They have been known to play dead and most species, when startled, can emit a smelly fluid from their anus.

They're aggressive predators who feed on turtles, fish and snakes. And if you visit Asia, these giant water bugs are considered a delicacy.

 

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