Water Scorpions, Water Stick-Insects Ranatra spp. (Insecta: Hemiptera: Nepidae)
view on EDIS


How to Cite

Griffith, Taryn, and Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman. 2021. “Water Scorpions, Water Stick-Insects Ranatra Spp. (Insecta: Hemiptera: Nepidae): EENY-758/IN1308, 5/2020”. EDIS 2021 (2). Gainesville, FL:3. https://doi.org/10.32473/edis-in1308-2020.


Commonly mistaken for other objects due to its appearance, hence the common name water stick-insect, this slender reddish-brown insect is commonly found in fresh or brackish water (a mix of salt and fresh water) (Anufriyeva et al. 2016). They are ambush predators and will spend most of its time in the water waiting for prey. They are limited to the length of their raptorial forearms in terms of catching prey. In the southeastern United States, these insects are commonly referred to as water scorpions.

Also published on the Featured Creatures website at http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/AQUATIC/Ranatra.html

view on EDIS


Anufriyeva YV, Shadrin NV. 2016. "First record of Ranatra linearis (Hemiptera, Nepidae) in hypersaline water bodies of the Crimea." Hydrobiological Journal 52: 56-61. https://doi.org/10.1615/HydrobJ.v52.i2.50

Bailey P. 1986. "The feeding behavior of a sit-and-wait predator, Ranatra dispar, (Heteroptera: Nepidae): Description of behavioural components of prey capture, and the effect of food deprivation on predator arousal and capture dynamics." Behavior 97: 66-93. https://doi.org/10.1163/156853986X00324

Bick G, Hornuff L, Lambremont E. 1953. "An ecological reconnaissance of a natural acid stream in southern Louisiana." Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 28: 229.

Chen P, Nieser N, Ho JZ. 2004. "Review of Chinese Ranatrinae (Hemiptera: Nepidae), with descriptions of four new species of Ranatra Fabricius." Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 147: 81-102. https://doi.org/10.1163/22119434-900000142

Cloarec A. 1980. "Post-molt behavior in the water-stick insect Ranatra linearis." Behavior 70: 304-324. https://doi.org/10.1163/156853980X00285

Cloarec A. 1985. "Distance and size discrimination in a water stick insect, Ranatra linearis (Heteroptera)." Journal of Experimental Biology 120: 59-77. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.120.1.59

Herring J. 1951. "The aquatic and semiaquatic Hemiptera of north Florida. Part 3: Nepidae, Belostomatidae, Notonectidae, Pleidae, and Corixidae." Florida Entomologist 34: 18-29. https://doi.org/10.2307/3492489

Wright J. 1997. Water scorpions. Northern State University. The Natural Source. https://www3.northern.edu/natsource/INVERT1/Waters1.htm. Accessed September 7, 2019.

Copyright (c) 2021 UF/IFAS