August 24, 2013
Photographers: Isla Brazier and John Stetson
Summary Authors: Isla Brazier and John Stetson
Shown above is a critter known as a water scorpion (Nepidae). Though it looks here something like a praying mantis, it belongs to a family of aquatic insects. The water scorpion's tail is a breathing tube that allows the creature to spend as much as half an hour under the surface of the water to hunt for larvae and small fish, etc. After capturing prey with pincer-like claws, a neurotoxin is delivered through its beak into its victim. Water scorpions are often difficult to observe since they've evolved to look like floating sticks.
This specimen was scooped up by Emily Night in a pond behind the L.C. Bates Natural History Museum in Hinckley, Maine. Because it's venomous, it was photographed in a plastic container. See video below. Photo taken on July 25, 2013.
Photo details: Camera Model: NIKON D7000; Focal Length: 105.0mm; Aperture: f/20.0; Exposure Time: 0.0040 s (1/250); ISO equiv: 100; Software: Adobe Photoshop CS4 Macintosh.