Published: Aug. 11, 2021
brownish orange bug with a face resembling a toad

Toad Bugs (Family: Gelastrocoridae) really live up to their name as they spend much of their time in or around water.  Their hopping about can cause them to easily be mistaken for their Amphibian counterparts.  These true bugs can be found in temperate zones near water, but their diversity increases near the tropics.  Immature nymphs in this family will cover their exoskeleton with sand, which is thought to increase protection and provide a layer of camouflage to potential predators.  As adults, these big-eyed bugs exhibit intricate color patterns and textures on their exoskeleton, which increases their ability to blend into their shore-line habitats as they sit and wait for unsuspecting prey. 

Members of the genus Gelastrocoris, like this Toad Bug, possess a unique hunting feature not seen in many other arthropods: raptorial forelimbs.  This Toad Bug will sit and wait on the shoreline for an unsuspecting smaller insect, blending completing into its surroundings.  When the time is right, they will thrust their entire body into the air, leaping on top of their prey, and using their raptorial forelimbs to grab and feed on their catch.

Cheng, Lanna. 1976. Scripps Institute of Oceanography Technical Report: Marine Insects. San Diego, CA. North Holland Publishing Company.

Common name: Toad Bug
Scientific name: Gelastrocoris oculatus (Family: Gelastrocoridae)
Catalog number: UCMC 0049017
Label data: Boulder Co., Colo.; August 1939; Hugo G. Rodeck

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