'Aggressive' toe-biting insects found in Santa Monica Mountains

SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS -- Beware: "Aggressive" toe-biting insects can be found in streams in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to park service officials.

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area shared on its Facebook page two photos of a male Abedus herberti with eggs on its back.

RELATED: New species of mosquito invading Southern California

It's typical for the eggs to lay on the male's wings and be carried until they hatch -- all while being kept moist, clean and safe from predators.

Belostomatidae is a family of freshwater hemipteran insects that can grow up to be four inches long.

The giant water bugs, also known as toe-biters, have been spotted at Santa Monica Mountain streams and are capable of biting human toes. According to park ranger Ana Beatriz, the bites are "very painful!"

"They're aggressive predators who feed on turtles, fish and snakes. And if you visit Asia, these giant water bugs are considered a delicacy," Beatriz wrote.

As for other interesting facts about the bizarre-looking bugs: The insects are known to play dead, and most can emit a smelly fluid from their anus when startled.
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.