Another terrifying insect? A six-legged larvae that can slurp up fish and fully grown bullfrogs was found at a Montana national park, officials say.
Called a “water tiger,” the predaceous diving beetle larvae can eventually eat prey much larger than itself, Glacier National Park said. Researchers found the “terrifying” critter during a pond survey of dragonfly larvae.
“These ‘water tigers’ wait, motionless, to pounce on unsuspecting prey,” park officials said in a Friday Facebook post. “As its meal swims by, this fierce predator snatches its victim, holding it with sharp, curved mouth parts.”
The water tiger then injects digestive liquid that kills and liquefies its victim, then the larvae slurps up the prey like juice, according to Glacier National Park.
The little beetles are usually only about 3 centimeters big, according to Mountain Lake Biological Station at the University of Virginia. They can sometimes be found in bird baths and swimming pools, the Missouri Department of Conservation reported.
“Horrifying as this might seem, these beetles are an important part of the freshwater food web,” park officials said. “‘Water tigers’ are often the top predator in their system and play a big role in mosquito control! They’re also a common food source for animals like fish and birds.”