Saucer bug

Saucer Bug

Saucer Bug ©Malcolm Storey

Saucer bug

Scientific name: Ilyocoris cimicoides
An underwater predator, the Saucer bug uses its front pincer-like legs to catch its prey. It can be found at the bottom of muddy, weedy ponds; but handle with care - it can inflict a painful bite!

Species information


Length: 1.2-1.5cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


An active, underwater predator, the Saucer bug spends its time around the bottom of weedy, muddy ponds hunting invertebrates, tadpoles and small fish. Adults have sharp, pincer-like legs, which enable them to catch their prey. They then stab it with their 'beak', injecting digestive enzymes into the wound and sucking out the contents of the body.

How to identify

The Saucer bug has an oval, yellowy-brown body, with large eyes and a pair of sharp, pincer-like legs at the front. It has a silvery underside, created by the air bubble it holds there while underwater. It can be distinguished from water beetle species by its overlapping wings and piercing mouthparts, rather than biting jaws.


Found in England and Wales.

Did you know?

If handled, the Saucer bug can give a painful nip, stabbing roughly the skin with its sharp 'beak'.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.