Variation in the geometry of foreleg claws in sympatric giant water bug species: An adaptive trait for catching prey?

Shin Ya Ohba, Haruki Tatsuta, Fusao Nakasuji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When giant water bugs (Heteroptera: Belostomatidae) encounter prey animals that are larger than they are themselves, they first hook the claw of their raptorial legs onto the animal, and then use all their legs to pin it. The claws of the raptorial legs in giant water bugs play an important role in catching larger prey, but the relationship between the claws, body lengths of predators, and prey size has not been fully investigated. To elucidate the functioning of claws in catching prey, we investigated prey body size relative to predator size in nymphs of two sympatric belostomatid giant water bug species, the vertebrate eater Kirkaldyia (=Lethocerus) deyrolli Vuillefroy and the invertebrate eater Appasus japonicus Vuillefroy, captured in rice fields. The younger nymphs of K. deyrolli caught preys that were larger than themselves, whereas those of A. japonicus caught preys that were smaller. Younger nymphs of K. deyrolli had claws that were curved more sharply than those of A. japonicus. The more curved claws of younger nymphs of K. deyrolli probably hook more easily onto larger vertebrates and thus this shape represents an adaptation for acquiring such prey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-227
Number of pages5
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Volume129
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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