World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Lethocerus indicus

Article Id: WHEBN0006022235
Reproduction Date:

Title: Lethocerus indicus  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Condiments, Salmoriglio, Milkette, Cruet-stand, Watermelon rind preserves
Collection: Condiments, Insects as Food, Philippine Cuisine, Thai Cuisine, Vietnamese Cuisine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Lethocerus indicus

Lethocerus indicus
Lethocerus indicus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Belostomatidae
Genus: Lethocerus
Species: L. indicus
Binomial name
Lethocerus indicus
(Lepeletier & Serville, 1825)

Belostoma indicum

Lethocerus indicus is a giant water bug in the family Belostomatidae, native to South and Southeast Asia, as well as southeast China, Korea, the Ryukyu Islands and New Guinea.[1] It was originally described as Belostoma indicum but is no longer placed in that genus.

This insect is well known as an edible species in a number of different Southeast Asian cuisines. The taste of the flight muscles is often compared to sweet scallops or shrimp.


  • Description 1
  • Research 2
  • As food 3
    • Vietnam 3.1
    • Thailand 3.2
    • Philippines 3.3
  • See also 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Lethocerus indicus typically has a length between 6.5 and 8 cm (2.6 and 3.1 in).[1]


The large size of this insect and its cardiac muscle. The high degree of structural order makes is possible to obtain X-ray diffraction patterns richer and more detailed than those from vertebrate striated muscle.

As food


The Vietnamese call this insect cà cuống. The insect's essence (a pheromone produced by the male that attracts females) is harvested by collecting its liquid-producing sacs. That liquid is then placed in small glass containers. The insect is claimed to be scarce, and demand for the extract is high. Most of the cà cuống essence on the market is therefore imitation, with the actual essence fetching a high price. Cà cuống is typically used sparsely and eaten with bánh cuốn (rice noodle rolls) by adding a drop to the nước chấm (dipping sauce).

It is also eaten in a soup dish called 'bún thang' adding a unique essence to the broth. The dish traditionally includes rice noodles, thinly sliced egg crepe, pork cold cuts, and other various additions in a chicken/dry squid broth. A tiny drop of the extract on the tip of a toothpick would suffice to flavor the whole bowl of soup. This dish originated in Northern Vietnam.


In the northeast region of Thailand, eating insects is common. This species (known as malaeng da na or maeng da; Thai: แมลงดานา or Thai: แมงดา) is a popular dish, eaten whole and fried, and as an extract.[2] Maeng da is used to make Nam phrik Maeng Da, a type of chili sauce used as a condiment.[3]


In the Ilocos region in the northern part (Luzon) of the Philippines some insects such as crickets, locusts, and beetles are traditionally eaten. The water bug or water beetle is known as alukap in Ilokano language. It is sauteed or fried in oil, garlic, onions and tomatoes, or roasted, after the wings and legs have been removed, and eaten as a viand for steamed rice or as a finger food with liquor. The same is done in the Visayas region where it is called obus in the Visayan language.[4]

Giant water bugs in the market. Lopburi, Thailand.
Fried giant water bugs.
Nam phrik maengda made with crushed Lethocerus indicus.

See also


  • Gene DeFoliart of[1]
  • Bekyarova, T. I., Baumann, B. A .J., Reedy, M. C., Tregear, R. T., Ward, A., Krzic, U., Prince, K. M., Reconditi, M., Gore, D., Irving, T. C., and Reedy, M. K. “Crossbridges as Passive Brakes: Reverse Actin Sliding Triggers Strong Myosin Binding That Moves Tropomyosin”PNAS 105:10372-10377 (2008).


  1. ^ a b P. J. Perez-Goodwyn (2006). Taxonomic revision of the subfamily Lethocerinae Lauck & Menke (Heteroptera: Belostomatidae)". Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. A (Biologie) 695: 1–71.
  2. ^ -
  3. ^ Chapter 24 SE Asia Thailand
  4. ^ Chapter 25 Other Countries in SE Asia

External links

  • Media related to Lethocerus indicus at Wikimedia Commons
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.