These stick-like insects can be found inhabiting most freshwater ponds in the Northeast. Although called water scorpions, these water bugs aren’t even closely related to scorpions. Their name comes from the fact that they superficially resemble scorpions, with their modified grasping front legs and “tails,” which act as snorkels or breathing tubes. The long,slender water scorpions in the genus Renata are also referred to as water stick insects or “needle bugs.”
Water scorpions are formidable predators, reaching up to five inches in length. The majority of their diet consists of other invertebrates, but they have been known to take tadpoles and minnows.
Water scorpions mate at this time of year — males produce chirping noises, much like a cricket, to attract females. After mating, the female lays several eggs and attaches them to aquatic vegetation.