Breeding ecology and seasonal abundance of the giant water bug Appasus japonicus (Heteroptera, Belostomatidae)


Shin-ya Ohba, Department of Vector Ecology and Environment, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nagasaki University, Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8523, Japan. Email:


Males of the giant water bug Appasus (= Diplonychus) japonicus Vuillefroy (Belostomatidae: Heteroptera) carry egg masses on their back, but little is known about the relationship between seasonal abundance and breeding ecology of the species. In the present study, therefore, a field survey based on a mark-and-recapture census was carried out at three survey points within a rice paddy area (0.3 km2) where A. japonicus forms a meta-population in northern Okayama, Japan. We investigated the body size, seasonal abundance, dispersion, egg mass size (number of eggs within one egg mass), number of egg masses and the total eggs carried on the back of each male as fundamental parameters of the population and breeding. Significant differences in egg mass size, number of egg masses, and total number of eggs that males carried was found among the survey points. The present results suggested the possibility that the differences in breeding parameters of A. japonicus were influenced by differences in environmental factors among the microhabitats. These results are discussed in conjunction with previous reports on seasonal abundance and breeding systems in Belostomatidae bugs.