Skip to main content

Male brooding behaviour of the giant water bugLethocerus deyrollei vuillefroy (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae)


The male brooding behaviour ofLethocerus deyrollei was investigated. Eggs were laid as masses on sticks above the water surface. Males did not leave the sticks until the eggs hatched. They mainly stayed at the bases of the sticks in water in the day, and frequently climbed up at night covering the egg-masses with their bodies. Eggs with male brooding had a 94.3% hatching rate. Eggs without male brooding failed to hatch and desiccated. Eggs with brooding considerably increased in wet weight in development; eggs without brooding decreased in wet weight. Eggs without male brooding and artificially supplied with water had a 93.2% hatching rate. Male brooding is considered to supply eggs with water.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  • Cullen, M. J. 1969 The biology of giant water bugs (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae) in Trinidad.Proc. Roy. Ent. Lond. 44: 123–137.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman, W. E. 1931 Studies on the bionomics of the water-bug,Lethocerus indicus (Hemiptera Belostomatidae) in China.Verhandl. Vereinigung theor. angew. Limnol. 5 (2): 661–667.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoffman, W. E. 1933 Additional data on the life history ofLethocerus indicus (Hemiptera Belostomatidae).Lingnan Sci. J. 12 (4): 595–596.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ichikawa, N. 1983 Mating and ovipositing behaviour ofLethocerus deyrollei.Insectarium 20: 94–97. (In Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Ichikawa, N. 1985 Breeding ecology of the Giant Water Bug,Lethocerus deyrollei.J. Japan Assoc. Zool. Gard. Aquariums 27(4): 103–106. (In Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • madhavan, M. M. 1974 Structure and function of the hydropyle of the egg of the bug,Sphaerodema molestum.J. Insect Physiol. 20: 1341–1349.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Maynard Smith, J. 1982 Evolution and the theory of games. Cambridge Univ. Press. (Japanese translation E. Teramoto & M. Kakehashi 1985 Sangyo-Tosho Press.

  • Miyatake, Y. 1975 The keeping ofLethocerus deyrollei.Nature Study 21 (5): 61–64. (In Japanese)

    Google Scholar 

  • Ralston, J. S. 1977 Egg guarding by male assassin bugs of the genusZelus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae).Psyche 84: 103–107.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, R. L. 1976a Male brooding behaviour of the Water BugAbedus herberti (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae).Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 69: 740–747.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, R. L. 1979 Paternity assurance and altered roles in the mating behaviour of a giant water bug,Abedus herberti (Heteroptera: Belostomatidae).Anim. Behav. 27 (3): 716–725.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tallamy, D. W. 1984 Insect parental care.Bio. Sci. 34(1): 20–24.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tawfic, M. F. S. 1969 The life-history of the Giant Water-Bug,Lethocerus niloticus Stael.Bull. Soc. Ent. Egypte. LIII: 299–310.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


About this article

Cite this article

Ichikawa, N. Male brooding behaviour of the giant water bugLethocerus deyrollei vuillefroy (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae). J. Ethol. 6, 121–127 (1988).

Download citation

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Water Surface
  • Animal Ecology
  • Hatching Rate
  • Brooding Behaviour
  • Male Brooding