Martin's Nerthra

Scientific NAme

Hemiptera: Gelastocoridae Nerthra martini

History and distribution

 Nerthra marini. Photo by the Springs Stewardship Institute.

Nerthra marini. Photo by the Springs Stewardship Institute.

One of the strangest-looking springs bugs in the Southwest, this 1 cm (1/2”) semi-aquatic predator is found in Grand Canyon only in the ancient path of the early Cenozoic “California River”, a river that flowed east and north across the northwestern corner of Arizona.

Description

Nerthra lives at the margin of springfed streams in the lower Canyon, where it feeds on damselfly larvae and other soft-bodied invertebrates. It is rarely seen, but is related to the toad bugs (Gelastocoris)— two species of diminutive but much cuter bugs that hop along the shorelines of desert streams in Grand Canyon.