Anyone seen a giant water bug in Greece?

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Anyone seen a giant water bug in Greece?

The giant aquatic insect Lethocerus patruelis (Stål, 1855) is a large aquatic insect belonging to the Belostomatidae family. It is the only species of this family that lives in Europe, where it is known from the Balkans (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, CIS, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey) and perhaps from Hungary (doubtful) (Polhemus 1995; Protic 1998). Perez Goodwin 2006; Fent et al. 2011). It has only recently been registered in Italy (Bacchi & Rizzotti Vlach 2005). Its "paranormal pattern" is said to be limited to the Indomediterranean, excluding North Africa and the western Mediterranean (see Vigna Taglianti et al. 1999). (I think the botanical form refers to its natural biogeographical range ... anyway ...).

Although I'm not an expert, not much is known about this type of bug in Greece. If anyone saw this species in Greece, especially in the south or on the islands, we would be interested.

My personal experience as a bird and fish lover (non-entomologist) is that they are more common in northern Greece (I use rice fields and low wetlands). I saw them in Dadia, Oras (see photo below), Lyra (Ora) and once in Kefalonia (actually a museum specimen). I have friends who have seen them as far south as Spercius, where they are shared. However I don't think they are many or even common in the southern half of the country. For example, I haven't seen one in Amvracikos in years (although I think it is). Nor have I ever seen or known anyone who has seen this species in small wetlands. It can be prone to dry swamps. Who do you know ...

However, we need to start treating beetles, like these lovely beetles, as important indicators of biodiversity, and humans can play a role in this.

As the cyber world grows, there are some interesting citizen support tools for hobbyist identification and participation, check out these:

As Bulgarian scholars recently told me.

The article, published in the open access journal Zookeys , provides detailed information on the karyotype, chromosomal behavior and male reproductive system of the largest European aquatic insect, Lethocerus patruelis. Interesting information on life habits and species distribution in the Balkans is also presented. Over the past 10 years, there have been several new records of this species in southern Bulgaria, probably indicating that the giant water beetle has expanded its range northwards. Such a large and abundant distribution of species in these regions would be an important clue to recent changes in European fauna caused by climate change and the effects of global warming. For more details see: S. Grozeva et al. (2013) Primary reduction of a sex chromosome in male meiosis of Lethocerus patruelis (Stål, 1854) (Heteroptera, Belostomatidae) with some observations on the distribution of the species. ZooKeys 319 (Special Edition: Advances in Hematology).

the last one.
Closely related East Asian varieties are popular as a food in several Southeast Asian cuisines. Online sources claim that the insect tastes like scales or shrimp.

Lethocerus patrol in the village of Dadia in Evros (north-eastern Greece, summer 2009).

Lethocerus patruelis , found under a lamppost in the village of Dadia (summer 2009).

The ethocerus patruelis is found in Nea Pelagia (Chalkidiki) (photo recently taken by the Hungarian friend Aniko Scheel).

A washed-up Lethocerus patruelis was found on Koukounaris beach on the island of Skiathos (photo by Plasik Zoltan in summer 2020).

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