Everything’s bigger in Texas: A lesson in entomology


Me, marveling at one of Texas’s smaller bugs.

This past Tuesday, I went to a few parks. They’re city parks, manicured nicely, maybe with playscapes. This is important to mention because although I wasn’t in the desert with a cactus and some wild boar, I was about to be schooled in Texas.

I park and my car is dripping fluid. Dripping is an understatement.

I look under the hood and find nothing, but when I drive across the lot it literally leaves a trail of liquid. What the heck!!!!! It’s brand new! My car skills are minimal so I risk it all and decide to bolt home.

I arrive in one piece, only to later learn from a Texan friend that air conditioner condensation is a thing. All was well.

Sort of. In the process, I forgot what else I witnessed that day.

I was walking along and saw a tunnel in the ground. Logically, I thought it must be a snake hole. With similar genius, I stuck my face near the entrance in hopes to see its resident.

River Place bug

The monstrosity.

Imagine my surprise when I came face to face with the largest bug I’ve seen to date. It’s GIGANTIC.

I took some pics, was totally floored… and then the car fluid debacle occurred.

The following day, I find the photo again and my interest resumes. So I start searching the web. I find Lethocerus americanus, the giant water bug–an insect so large it can eat salamanders and fish.

However, the scholars of the internet seem to never have observed the species tunneling in the mud. This is groundbreaking stuff. I’ve potentially discovered a new behavior of the water bug.

Knowing I should at least double check with someone educated about insects before I jump to conclusions, I email an entomologist.

Surprise! It’s a young cicada emerging from its underground lair. They call them ciCAEdas here versus cicahda. And apparently they’re massive.

I’m learning something new every day. That’s it folks, that’s the end, sorry it’s anticlimactic. No giant water bug…. but maybe one day!


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