Aquatic Insects - For REAL


Jade Regent

Sovereign Court Wayfinder, PaizoCon Founder

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So, in case anyone is curious, each of the aquatic insects is actually based on the real thing. I'm an aquatic entomologist by profession, and it has been my wish to be able to make some of what I see under the microscope in a bestiary as MONSTERS.

The artwork that is shown in #49 is of the belostomatid...the giant water bug. Belostomatidae is the family name of these true bugs. To get a good idea of these critters you can download a PDF on them. Or google "belostomatid". Lots of good pictures. Even a few youtube videos of them hunting!

The water strider is also a true bug, from the family Gerridae. These are the "jesus bugs" you see skimming across lakes and ponds, and slower river waters. They can gather in swarms, too...just not on humans!

The hellgrammite is a dobsonfly larvae. You can't get a real good sense of how truly nasty these things can be until you SEE and HOLD them. Check out these wonderful pictures!


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Cool stuff Tim.

A question from the language-interested. Is "Jesus bug" a common term for those critters? In Sweden we call them tailors (skräddare) incidentally.

Edit: Also, larvae of any kind are almost always creepier than any invented monster I've ever seen in fantasy-art.

Sovereign Court Wayfinder, PaizoCon Founder

Kajehase wrote:

Cool stuff Tim.

A question from the language-interested. Is "Jesus bug" a common term for those critters? In Sweden we call them tailors (skräddare) incidentally.

Edit: Also, larvae of any kind are almost always creepier than any invented monster I've ever seen in fantasy-art.

They have lots of nicknames, depending on the region. I had always called them water striders or pond skimmers...."Jesus bug" was a new one I'd never heard before, but I sort of like it, with the whole "walking on water" thing going on.

These were 3 of MANY, MANY aquatic insect larvae I had as choices to create. Hellgrammite was a no-brainer....with a name like THAT, how could I NOT stat it up? ;-)


Thank god I live in the desert.

Where it is dry.

On the second story of my house.

Lantern Lodge

I can also tell you that some waterbug can transmit some nasty diseases.

Check Buruli Ulcer.

Sweet dreams.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I have a master's in Env Sci and spent a lot of time kick netting our local rivers during my undergrad years. I often thought some of those macroinvertebrates would be pretty scary life size (dragonfly larva i'm looking at you!) So I think it's awesome.


After reading up on the amoebas that live in lakes, rivers, and swimming pools, climb up your nasal passage, and eat your brain I'm pretty much numb to the whole scary bug in water ordeal. :) Then I started wondering how to stat out a larger one that used it's powers to control the affected humaniod.

Water striders are cool though. It was fascinating as a kid to be at the creek and watch these things run across the surface of the water.


Timitius, you get lots of points for being an entomologist! That is a really cool profession. The more I learn about insects the more I am fascinated by them. I am planning to start beekeeping this year or next year.

This year my wife and I got some Madagascar Hissers as pets for ourselves and our toddler. They are a nice hardy insect, don't transmit disease, don't bite/sting etc, reproduce at a rate that is not overwhelming, but not too slow either. In short, an ideal pet for a toddler since, if he accidently squishes one, they will replace it.

Anyway, we had the privilige to watch one of our Hissers give birth yesterday. It was one of the COOLEST things that I have seen. Hissers are "live birth" roaches (carry the ootheca internally) and it was bizarre to see all these little tiny white roaches POURING out the back of her abdomen. We were exceptionally upset that we could not find our camera to record it.

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