Rhantus suturalis
Rhantus suturalis, Culex larva
Rhantus suturalis larva, eating mosquito larva

With a quick move this water beetle larva has caught a mosquito larva in it's half-crescent shaped jaws. It now injects toxic protein-dissolving saliva in it's prey, which is sucked out after that. It seems to me a Rhantus larva can also gobble up some pieces, this would mean that the mouth-slit is open, in contrast to most other water beetle larva who have "sealed lips".
Rhantus suturalis lays her eggs in very small waters, the same waters that are preferred breeding pools for mosquito larvae, so they find their meal ready when hatching. They feast on this table: a Rhantus larva may eat from 20 to 30 mosquito larvae!

Rhantus suturalis larva spots prey 13-08-2007 Rhantus suturalis larva, detail head 13-08-2007
larva spotting prey
The larva's sight isn't very good, but when a prey closes in it is immediately very attentive and is ready for the attack, with it's jaws held wide open as you can see on the picture at the left, taken half a minute before the one on top, at the moment the larva saw the midge larva.
head of Rhantus suturalis larva 13-08-2007
under lip open?
On the detail picture the mouth slit appears to be closed. On the picture at right, with a view at the under side of the head, we see the under lip opened? That could mean the larva is indeed able to "gobble up" and not only suck its food through the hollow jaws...
For those of you who are just as insatiable as the larva there is yet another picture here:
rhantus larva with midge larva enlargement

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All pictures on this site were made by Gerard Visser (Aadorp, Netherlands), unless stated otherwise. All rights remain with him. These pictures may not be used for purposes any other than private viewing or printing. Do NOT hardlink to these pictures or place them on other websites without the author's approval. Should you need them for purposes which include third parties, you must ask the author permission by e-mail. People, who want to use this pictures for exhibitions or publications or educative material are much encouraged to do so, after approval as mentioned and giving the normal credits.
© G.H. Visser 21-08-2007

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