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Diet composition of the endangered giant water bug Lethocerus deyrolli (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae) in the rice fields of Japan: Which is the most important prey item among frogs, fish, and aquatic insects?


Toshiaki Hirai, Field Science Center, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Tohoku University, Naruko-Onsen, Osaki, Miyagi, 989-6711 Japan. Email:


The food habits of the endangered giant water bug, Lethocerus deyrolli, were studied in the rice fields of Nose, in the north of Osaka Prefecture, Japan. Field observations revealed that frogs were the most important prey item. Frogs represented 86.4% and 78.6% in the diet of L. deyrolli in spring and summer, respectively. Among seven species of three families (Hylidae, Rhacophoridae, and Ranidae) exploited by L. deyrolli, the most important food item was adult Hyla japonica in spring and juvenile Rana nigromaculta in summer. Fish and aquatic arthropods were not considered important foods for L. deyrolli. The frog-dependent food habits indicate that the recovery and conservation of frogs should be prioritized to protect L. deyrolli from extinction.