Animals for Kids: Amphibians in Danger

Water bugs: species, habitat and danger to humans

One of the most alarming drops in animal populations over the past several years has been the decline in the amphibian population. Amphibians are sensitive to changes in their environment. Many species of amphibians have already gone extinct or are in danger of going extinct.

Decline in Amphibian Population

In the past several years around 43% of all amphibian species have shown a decline in population. There are less and less of them each year. At the same time only 1% of amphibian species are growing in population.

In addition to the overall population decline, it is thought that around 160 amphibian species have gone extinct and that another 1,800 species are in danger of going extinct. That’s around 1/3 of all amphibians on the planet.

Causes of Decline

The exact cause of the overall decline in amphibian population is not fully understood by scientists. There are a number of things that have adversely affected different species of amphibians. It is likely that the decline is from a combination of several of the factors described below.

  • Loss of habitat — Perhaps the greatest threat to amphibians has come from loss of habitat. Humans have developed a lot of the areas where amphibians live. In addition, some amphibian species only live in a small area. Once this area is developed, that species is gone forever.
  • Water pollution — Amphibians generally live in or near the water. Also, their skin absorbs water and other chemicals. This makes them very sensitive to water pollution.
  • Air pollution — Amphibians breathe air through their skin making them also extra sensitive to air pollution.
  • Ozone depletion — It is thought that ozone depletion may hit amphibians harder than most animals. The extra radiation from the sun may harm their eggs and prevent their population from expanding.
  • Disease — Recently, several diseases have attacked amphibians and caused some decline in population. It is thought these diseases may be carried by humans.
  • Introduced species — Many lakes and rivers have been stocked with recreational fish (fish that people like to catch). Unfortunately, these fish often feed on amphibians and can cause a reduction in their population.

Why is this important?

Many scientists think that amphibians can give us a clue as to the overall health of the Earth. Amphibians are sensitive to changes in habitat and pollution. The decline in the amphibian population could be a sign of things to come in the future for other animals, if things continue to worsen.

What is being done?

Scientists around the world are sharing information about their findings on the health of amphibian species. Efforts are being made to protect their habitats and reduce pollution. Also, zoos are creating captive breeding programs to try and keep species from going extinct.

Different Types of Water Bugs You Wanted to Know About

Water bugs form the mesmerizing world of a large number of insects that are found in almost all the quiet streams and ponds all over the world. There is a large variety of them. Read on to know more about the various types of water bugs.

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Water bugs form the mesmerizing world of a large number of insects that are found in almost all the quiet streams and ponds all over the world. There is a large variety of them. Read on to know more about the various types of water bugs.

Insects are invertebrates that belong to the class Insecta. They are characterized by a hard exoskeleton, and their body is divided into three distinct parts – the head , the thorax, and the abdomen. All insects have three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and a pair or antennae. The class Insecta has a number of orders under it. One of the various orders is Hemiptera, which includes the ‘true bugs’, to which the different types of water bugs belong.

About Water Bugs

Water bugs refer to a large number of aquatic insects that belong to the group called ‘true bugs’, most of which are terrestrial. They belong to the order hemiptera, and are classified into the infraorders nepomorpha and gerromorpha. Water bugs differ from most other lake and pond insects in the fact that they do not have gills to breathe. Rather, they use oxygen directly from the air. Those that do go beneath water carry a supply of oxygen with them in the form of bubbles, or as a glistening sheath of air trapped within the waterproof hair on their body. Except for the water boatman, most water bugs are predatory. They have sharp beaks and stinging apparatus with which they can deliver a powerful sting or inject enzymes that would dissolve the tissues of their prey. Then they suck out the liquefied insides of their victim.

Different Types

Back Swimmer

Back swimmers get their name from the fact that they swim upside down on their backs, with their legs up on or near the surface of the water. They can be recognized by their curved back and a broad keel on the abdomen. They have large eyes that cover most of their head. They swim with their hairy hind legs that they paddle hard while swimming. Back swimmers are just about 2 cm in size. They are predatory and feed on smaller aquatic animals like blood worms and aquatic larvae. They are known to attack tadpoles and small fish, and can also deliver a painful bite to human beings. Back swimmers are found in still freshwaters of lakes, pools, ponds, and marshes.

Water Scorpion

Scientifically known as Nepidae, water scorpions belong to the order Hemiptera, and the suborder Heteroptera. These are water insects that get their name due to their specialized grasping forelimbs that are similar to the anterior pincers of a scorpion. They have an elongated breathing tube that looks like the stinging tail of a scorpion. There are two types of water scorpions. One is thin and looks like a stick whereas the other variety is more leaf-like. These are carnivorous insects that seize their prey with their front limbs and suck out its body fluids.

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Giant Water Bug

Commonly known as toe biters and electric-light bugs, giant water bugs are the largest insects of the order hemiptera. These insects like the slow moving clear waters of freshwater streams and ponds. They are ambush hunters that grab hold of plant parts close to the surface and lie motionless, waiting for their prey. When a prey passes by, the bugs grasp them with their strong front legs. They pierce the body of their prey with their sharp beak and secrete enzymes that digest the body tissues which they then suck up. Their diet includes aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles, and small fish. Besides their huge size, the giant water bugs can be identified by their sharp, pointed beak that is present on the underside and wings that overlap at the hind end of the abdomen.

Water Boatman

This group of insects includes about 500 species that are divided into 33 genera. Water boatman have long, flattened bodies that measure up to 13 mm in length. They have a triangular head and their bodies are marked with distinct black or dark-brown striations. They have 6 legs in all, 2 short ones in the front and 4 longer ones at the rear. These insects get their name from the fact that their hind legs have hair that cover the legs in the shape of oars. They are different from the other members of the order hemiptera, in that they are mostly non-predatory. Instead, a water boatman feeds on water plants and algae. They inject saliva into plants with their straw-like mouth parts. The saliva dissolves the plant parts that are then ingested by the insects.

Water Striders

Water striders are flat and long insects. They can be easily identified by the second and third pair of legs that are almost twice the length of their body. They have a pair of short front legs that they use for catching prey. Like most other types, water striders are carnivorous. They eat larvae and small insects that fall on the surface of the water. They push their prey into their mouth and suck it dry. Though these insects can sense vibrations on the surface of the water, their predators like birds and fish take advantage of the fact that water striders cannot detect motion above or below the water surface.

These different types of water bugs form an enchanting world of their own . As predators, they form an important component of the pond ecosystem and maintain the balance of aquatic life forms.

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Pill Bug; Fact, Habitat, Lifecycle, Species and Appearance

The pill bug is a member of the woodlice family capable of defending themselves against danger or attack from other predators, the pill bug will fold themselves into a ball-like shape as a form of defense.

However, in this article, it is made from a combination of various researches just to meet the needs of the readers, as you continue further you’ll be able to receive detailed insight and information about this pill bugs species.


Here’s the breakdown of the knowledge you will acquire from this page:

What is a pill bug?

pill bug habitat

What does pillbug eat?

Pillbug in house

Picture of Pillbug

How to get rid of pillbug

What is a Pill Bug?

As we mentioned in our first paragraph, a pill bug is a terrestrial crustacean that belongs in the Isopoda order from the woodlice family, it has a similar appearance with the sow bug.

This bug was first introduced in Europe and so far it is the best bug in the Armadillidium Vulgare family, it spends most of its time on land building habitat and hunting.

Pill Bug Fact

These bugs are said to be as a descendant of the Armadillidiidae, it is also seen in the behavior of millipeds which most people take as fully grown pill bugs. However, the ability to position the body into a ball-like form is not only a means of protection but due to pressure or sudden vibration.

This bug is also known to take different body size which may be a cause of habitat, diet, and the ecosystem. The adult species have a size ranging from 3 to 4 cm, they are oval in shape mostly seen to be dark brown or black in color, these bugs have no wings but just like the sow bug, they have an antenna which they used to detect a threat, danger or food not too far from them.

Without being told they are commonly known as pill bug from the kingdom Animalia, belonging to phylum Arthropoda, class of Malacostraca in the order of Isopoda, under the family of Armadillidiidae and in the Armadillilium Vulgare species.

Pill Bug Habitat

The pill bug enjoys building their habitat at dark places like under big rocks, under abandon bricks or stones, logs, compost, mulch, and wood stacks.

However, in places were decomposing organic debris is found it is the major areas where this bug mainly looks for food, as a result, they are likely to settle down here, this makes them similar to the woodlice.

This bug won’t mind staying as long as a lifetime in dark and humid places if no threat occurs. Even when they come into our home, the will choose to stay in dark and damp areas.

Pill Bug Species

They research we carried out which shows the same values with an article on Wikipedia shows that in recent years an estimated total value of 2,000 to 7,000 species of these spiders are extant in the past 5 years and is still dominating the world.

However, these bugs find it easy to adapt to various kinds of animals and the environment. This means that they can survive in arid areas and mountain slopes estimated to be 15,000 ft above the sea-level making them unique bugs.

The Lifecycle of Pill Bug

This bug’s lifecycle has 2 stages which molting and hatching, for the molting stage, after mating the eggs grows in a shell-like exoskeleton structure, this takes about 2 to 3 days to form completely.

However, the method in which this bug uses is different from any other arthropod, the female sow bug will then keep the fertilized eggs in a marsupium on the safe side of her body to prevent it from damage until it has completed the molting stage and ready to hatch.

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This method of reproduction is a straight process different from the molting. The offspring of this bug after hatching appears in a small white-like curled ball. After safe hatching, the female pillbug is now ready for another reproduction process.

Pill Bug Appearance

This is not that complicated to identify, they are flat, oval bugs of about 10mm long and their body has various segments. They have 14 legs and 2 pairs of antennae, they also have a 1 pair of appendages looking like a tail. Though this bug has a name and difference most people take it to be a woodlice.

Pill Bug Picture

Picture of a pill bug

How Did Pill Bugs Get in My Home?

Keeping your home unkept, allowing damp and moisture sends an invitation to these bugs. However, this bug feed on decomposing organic debris found in damp areas, cracks, open space in a garage, windows, and doors are all entry points for these bugs. So in a situation where these are not taken care of, this bug will be found in your home shortly.

Also, not taking care of your outdoor environment gives open chances for this bug to build habitat, leaving dry or dead leaves, mulch, stagnant water, damp and moist areas, dead plants, and other pests which serves as diet will attract this bug to your environment and eventually they will come into your home.

How Serious Are Pill Bugs?

Answering this question, pillbugs are harmless to humans and animals, by eating other insects, they serve as a biological pest control agent. However, they do not cause any serious damages in your homes, most people get it exterminated because they are a nuisance or scared of it.

What Does Pillbugs Eat?

As we mentioned earlier, this bug feed on decomposing organic debris and dead plants and insects. These diets are usually found in damp and moist areas.

Where Does Pillbugs Live?

In our early discussion, this bug live in dark places like under big rocks, under abandon bricks or stones, logs, compost, mulch, and wood stacks. However, most times the complete their lifecycle here.

How to Get Rid of Pill Bugs

The same method applied in getting rid of a sow bug is also done with this bug due to similar infestation methods, although this bug is harmless and also contribute to fertile soil by producing compost and overturning the soil. Some people can’t stand the chance of seeing this bug and this makes them want to get rid of it.


They are simple ways you can endorse to get rid and prevent this bug, before planning on getting rid of this bug, what should come into your mind is getting rid of their hideout. You can do this by following the steps below;

Keep your environment neat and tidy: This bug won’t survive for long without food, getting rid of damp and moist areas, stagnant water, dead debris, and plants will get rid of the pest because these are the place in which they build habitat and feed.

Proper disposal of waste: When waste like dead leaves and plants are properly disposed of it will get rid of this bug.

Get rid of abandoned wood and logs: By getting rid of wood and logs that are not in use in which this bug built a habitat is another way of preventing this bug.

Fix all leaks, cracks, and holes: Fixing roof leaks, cracks and holes which could have caused damp and moisture, in the long run, brings in this bug is a technique for prevention this bug from infesting your home. However, ensure your windows and door are firmly fixed to block spaces which could bring in this bug.

Clean and prevent moisture areas: Always ensure you clean and get rid of existing moisture areas around you and prevent it from reoccurrence. Also, Dampness in basement areas should be fixed.

Water strider insect. Description, features, species, lifestyle and habitat of water striders

In the warm season, you can observe many different insects, among which water strider. An unusual insect that has a thin, long body can be observed on the surface of water bodies. Thanks to their long legs, they move easily and quickly. These insects do not attack humans first, however, if they are disturbed by chi, they can bite.

Description and Features

Water striders are a subspecies of the family of half-winged bugs that live mainly on water. Thanks to the hard hairs covering the entire body of the insect, it does not drown in water, but keeps on its surface. These hairs have a water-repellent coating, as a result they quickly move through the water.

Water meters have three pairs of legs, the middle and the back are designed for movement, support, and the front ones are the shortest ones, help to keep the prey, and give direction to the movement. In order to roll over, the insect uses three pairs of legs, while moving them in all directions.

The body of insects is long, and can reach 1-20 mm, color — from brown to dark brown. If obstacles arise on the waterway’s road, they can jump, they have excellent eyesight and the ability to transmit and receive information through fluctuations in the surface of the water.

Important! The antennae of the male are most sensitive, thanks to this they easily and quickly find the female. Water striders live not only in reservoirs, but also in puddles. Interestingly, such species have wings, thanks to which they fly. River or lake individuals do not have them.

The following types of water strips are distinguished:

  • Large — their body length reaches 17 mm.
  • Slow rod-shaped — they mainly live in Siberia, their body resembles a wand, hence the name.
  • Pond — a distinctive feature is the bright color of the legs.

Water riders breathe atmospheric air, but unlike sea bugs, they do not need to swim to the surface of the water to rest, because They live on the surface of the reservoir. Their respiratory system is the trachea, into which air flows through stigma. They are located on the sides of the mesothorax and metathorax, as well as on each segment of the abdomen.

Types and lifestyle

Water striders are insects that live on the surface of water bodies. They are often confused with spiders, both have a thin body and long legs. However, their life is always connected with water, they live in ponds, rivers and lakes.

Important! There are marine water striders that can travel long distances. Lake and river species live mainly near the coast. They always live in large flocks, and on the surface of the water 4-6 individuals can be observed simultaneously.

After the onset of cold weather, the bugs hibernate. They do this near vegetation or coastal soil. They winter on land, hiding in moss, under stones or among the roots of trees. When heat comes, they awaken and begin to multiply.

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Reproduction and longevity

The female water strider lays eggs on the leaves of plants, attaching them with the help of special mucus (in appearance it resembles a long cord, consisting of deposits of several tens of testicles). If clutch of many testicles is performed, then the mucous substance is not required.

And for small clutches, you can not do without it, because the testicles simply can not stay in the soft tissues of plants. Males are distinguished by a “paternal instinct”; after fertilization of the females, they actively participate in their life, right up to accompaniment during the laying of eggs. They protect and protect the female and the cubs.

Important! All summer days, sexually mature individuals reproduce offspring. Larvae appear in a couple of weeks, and after a month they become adults. You can distinguish young from parents by body measurements, and short, swollen abdomen of the cubs. Life expectancy of water striders is about a year.


Ordinary water striders live in reservoirs, near the coast, so that you can hide in the thickets of plants from fish. Marine individuals inhabit mainly the zone of the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Freshwater water striders live on the surface of rivers, lakes with a weak current, as well as in small puddles and streams. Usually they choose a warm, tropical climate. Moreover, they can survive in a harsh, snowy climate.

Despite its small size, water striders real predators. They can feed not only on their relatives, but also on larger individuals that inhabit the pond. They see prey from afar, in this they help the spherical shape of the organ of vision. On the forelimbs there are hooks with which they capture the victim.

Water strider insect has a sharp proboscis with which it sticks into the victim’s body, sucking out nutrients from it. In ordinary life, the proboscis is squeezed under the breast, thus not preventing it from moving quickly. Sea water striders feed on fish roe, physalis and jellyfish. In nature, there are parasitic types of water strippers, which suck the blood of various insects.

Interesting Facts

Water striders are rather unusual creatures about which there are many interesting facts:

  • Water-bed bugs are characterized by incomplete conversion, i.e. in appearance, the larva resembles an adult insect, and even in the process of development they do not fundamentally change.
  • After wintering, most water striders cannot fly, the reason for this is the weakening of the muscles and the small amount of energy that they require for their existence and reproduction in the spring. After all, as you know, their life expectancy is not more than a year.
  • Living in a tropical climate, you can see individuals in the open ocean, hundreds of kilometers from the coast. Recently, it has been scientifically proven that the skin of insects protects them from sea water and ultraviolet radiation.
  • Marine inhabitants are divided into coastal (most of them) and oceanic. The first are kept near the coast, near the thickets, and lay their eggs on land, reefs, algae or rocks. Living in the open ocean, they lay their eggs on floating objects. There have been cases water meter habitat on a piece of wood, plastic, shells, and even on fruits and bird feathers.
  • At the beginning of the 20th century, at the depth of the Pacific Ocean, a 20 liter canister was found, completely covered with 70 thousand eggs, i.e. 15 layers. According to estimates, it is possible to say that at least 7 thousand females laid their eggs there (given that one can lay a maximum of 10 pieces).
  • Insects are well oriented on the surface of the water. During the day they move in the direction of the sun, at night — back.
  • Parasites can settle on the body of water strips. Red, small dots are water mites that feed on their blood.
  • Water striders destroy horseflies, both mature individuals and their larvae. The size of an adult horsefly is larger than that of a water strider, so they attack them several bugs together.
  • There are many varieties of water meters (there are about 750 widows), each of which has its own color, structure and lifestyle.
  • The paws of the insect are very strong, they can withstand weight 15 times their weight.
  • Why watermark insects can glide quickly? Submerging their limbs in water, the water striders create small funnels, thanks to which a high speed of movement is achieved. Starting from the walls of the funnel, they make a sharp push forward, thus overcoming a distance in a second, a hundred times greater than the length of their body (about 650 km / h).
  • The males have well-developed hook-shaped antennas on their heads. This helps them quickly find a female for mating.
  • During the mating season, some species of male water striders enter into real fights.
  • Mating for the female is a costly process, at this time she is not very vulnerable and can not eat normally. Therefore, they store male sperm for re-fertilization.
  • If you frighten off the water meter, it always runs north.

Is water strikes dangerous for humans?

Dangers for people, these insects do not represent. All of their victims are small in size and have a different habitat. However, water bugs are not so harmless, if disturbed, they can sting. Their stitching apparatus is very sharp, and can easily bite through human skin. But their bite does not harm the body.

A small red spot may form at the site of the bite, which is accompanied by a slight itching. To remove these sensations, the affected area must be lubricated with iodine. Tropical water striders carry a small danger, as a result of their bite an allergic reaction is possible.

Traces on the code remain for several weeks, the affected area must be treated with special drugs, as well as taking antihistamines. The biggest damage these insects can do is eat rare fish, sucking the contents of their body.

Water striders are water insects that live in seas, rivers, lakes, and even in puddles. Unusual water meter structure helps to overcome long distances and hunt for prey. They are not dangerous to people.

The lifespan of a water strider is about a year, during which time they breed offspring. Thanks to the antennae on the antennae, the male quickly finds the female and fertilizes her. About 10 eggs are released from one female. To distinguish them from other types of water bugs, you need to look water meter in the photo.

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