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Sinopa 02-27-2013 01:18 AM

Water Scorpion - Ranatra fusca
Water Scorpion Scavenger Crustacean

I found these for sale and was wondering if anyone had any experience with these? I tried using the search function on the forum but came up with nothing and I am having difficulty finding care sheets other than whats at the provided link.

I only have platies and cory cats in the tank I would like to put him in.

Strand 02-27-2013 02:16 AM

I've always known them as "water skippers." I never knew they actually went underwater since I have always seen them skipping along the surface. I see them all the time in the creeks around here in central Washington. I can't believe someone would pay 12.99 for one of them.

I guess it would be interesting to observe them underwater. Like I said I've only seen them on the surface. I'm guessing you'll need a tight fitting lid because they would easily escape.

I might have to go catch some this summer and throw them in the tank and see what they do.

djembekah 02-27-2013 11:40 AM

Very interesting but it does look like the little bugs that skate around on water. id do more googling if i were you. $13 on something like that...iunno id have to obsessively research lol.
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Olympia 02-27-2013 12:03 PM

"Brown Waterscorpion (Ranatra fusca)
Description: 1 3/8" - 1 3/4" (35-45mm) with 7/8" (21mm) paired tail-like breathing tubes. Very elongate, sticklike. Pale to dark yellow brown. Pronotrum narrow and necklike, no wider than head at compound eyes. Slender middle and hind legs each about as long as body.
Habitat: Bottoms of shallow fresh waters, among vegetation and debris.
Range: Throughout southern Canada and the United States.
Food: Body juices from other insects, tadpoles, salamanders, and fishes.
Life Cycle: Eggs are thrust into soft, living or dead tissues of aquatic plants, hatching in 2-4 weeks. Nymphs mature in about 5 weeks. Adults overwinter.

This waterscorpion can puncture a person's skin with its beak. It injects a salivary secretion rich in anesthetizing substances that tranquilizes prey and initiates digestion."
-from Nation Audubon Society's Field Guide to Insects and Spiders

If it can puncture your skin, I wouldn't trust it with your fish.
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thekoimaiden 02-27-2013 12:41 PM

Pretty sure I remember these from Aquatic Entomology. There was actually a tank in the classroom that had some of these guys as well as some dragonfly nymphs. It was an awesome tank, but the only fish in there were food.

They probably wouldn't be the best for a community tank, but a dedicated setup with them and some other carnivorous aquatic insects would be something very unique. Some dragonfly nymphs can get an inch or so in length and are amazing to watch eat.

The giant water bugs of Belostomatidae are also crazy awesome insects to keep. They can get a couple of inches in length and easily eat adult guppies.

Sinopa 02-28-2013 11:50 AM

Holy crap, the website DEFINITELY leaves out that important bit where it can puncture my skin.
Thank you!

Mikaila31 02-28-2013 12:33 PM

I also work with those insects in my freshwater biology class. They are very common around here and the are not "water skippers" or "water striders". These guys stay submerged in vegetation. The ones around here are quite large, a couple inches long and pretty capable predators. Same goes for giant water bugs which are much bigger and bulkier.

Thoth 03-03-2013 08:36 AM

I personally would not purchase them. They should be distributed throughout California and shouldn't take too much of an effort to collect them. Take a net and a bucket to a body off water and run the net trough the dense plant material near the shore. Dump the net in the bucket at go through what was caught. Make sure that you keep some of the other aquatic insects as this is the main food source for the water scorpion.
The long tail that some would think to be a stinger is actually a breathing snorkel.

I used to keep a native tank many years ago with a baby painted turtle as the center piece. I had water scorpions in this tank. This was pre-internet and before my Entomology degree so I had no idea what I was doing at the time. They didn't fair well. Basically, the turtle ate everything that wasn't nailed down.

Here is a link to info
Water Scorpions

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