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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Unidentified Beetle, Seeking Name & Info :)

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Unidentified Beetle
Unidentified Beetle  
I found this insect in my garage at night on May 7th of this year.  To describe it, it was INCREDIBLY fast-moving... it could fly quickly or just scuttle on the ground using it's six (?) legs.  It was approximately 4 inches long and I'd guess about two inches wide (although this is a guess only as it never stayed still too long).

The photo (attached) is the best image I have of it.  In the photo you can see it's back which had wings but what you CANNOT see is that the front of it on it's had had LONG pinchers (looking much like an typical symbol Egyptian Scarab Beetle).  The photo shows you two pairs of legs on it's thorax (?) and one pair of legs near it's head - however this is NOT what I am referring to when I spoke about the pinchers.

This "little guy" was incredibly hardy! He would fly (as if blind) into the objects and walls inside our garage but seemed to gravitate towards the garage light, and despite flying into objects (or landing upside-down), he never seemed to slow down.

If it would help you at all, since I know the photo isn't the best, I live in a small city (Carlock, Illinois) near trees and a creek with a bunch of wildlife.  As mentioned this creature was discovered on the night (after sunset, around 2am) of May 7th of this year.  It was only a day or so after that that the other (more normal) beetle-like creatures began to appear for the first time this year.

Please let me know what your thoughts are as I am most intrigued by this little guy!

Thank you!
Katrina

Answer
Katrina,

Looks like a giant water bug (Belotomatidae), see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belostomatidae for some photos. They are normally found in water and since they can bite get the nickname "toe-biters" for their habit of biting swimmers. They are otherwise harmless.

Jack DeAngelis

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jack DeAngelis

Expertise

I can answer questions in any area of entomology (study of insects, spiders, mites, ticks, and other terrestrial arthropods). Contact me about home and garden insects, insects that bite and sting, and insects that damage homes such as carpenter ants and termites.

Experience

20 years as university extension entomologist, now retired; currently publish a website about home and garden insects.

Publications
see www.livingwithbugs.com/resume.html

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Entomology

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