we found this guy in a puddle in the middle of an asphalt parking lot in downtown minneapolis. i can only guess where he came from. probably the mississippi river, but that would have made for an awfully long flight for an insect that flies only rarely during warm weather. he looked half drowned, but was probably happier in his puddle than in our car, as we drove him home to get his portrait taken. we only found out later that he was a water scorpion, and that the long needle at his back end is neither a stinger nor an ovipositor, but a breathing tube. and that he grabs his prey with those mantid-like front legs, then eats them by sucking their fluids out. despite this somewhat antisocial behavior, i find him rather handsome, in a gangly, awkward, lyle lovett kind of way.
brown water scorpion (Ranatra fusca)