An impressive find

It looks like a cockroach but it has no antenna and appears to have its abdomen shell sutured preventing it from flying. Nonetheless, its by far the largest insect I’ve ever encountered in nature. While at my friend’s place, I grabbed the latest issue of National Geographic, opened a random page an saw a big photo of this very bug in all its splendor. It was part of a small feature on entomophagy. Turns out this is a benacus deyrolli, or a giant water bug as its commonly referred to. I should have been more careful, the Wikipedia article mentions that

Their bite is considered one of the most painful that can be inflicted by any insect (the Schmidt Sting Pain Index excludes insects other than Hymenoptera); the longer the bug is allowed to inject its saliva, the worse the resulting bite, and as the saliva liquefies muscle tissue, it can in rare instances do permanent damage. […] Occasionally when encountered by a larger predator, such as a human, they have been known to “play dead” and emit a fluid from their anus. Due to this they are assumed dead by humans only to later “come alive” with painful results.

When I was done taking the pictures, I released it in my frontyard only to find its empty exoskeleton two weeks after in my friend’s dog mouth.

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