Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Fall Fund Drive

TaxonomyBrowse
Info
ImagesLinksBooksData

Family Gerridae - Water Striders

Long thin strider with wings - Limnoporus Gerris incognitus (D & H) - Gerris incognitus - male Water Strider IMG_2187 waterstrider - male - female Gerridae water strider Water Skater - Aquarius remigis? - Limnoporus notabilis Water Strider  - Limnoporus dissortis
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Infraorder Gerromorpha (Semiaquatic Bugs)
Superfamily Gerroidea
Family Gerridae (Water Striders)
Other Common Names
Pond Skaters, Jesus Bugs, Water Skippers
Explanation of Names
Gerridae Leach 1815
Numbers
46 spp. in 8 genera in our area(1), ca. 750 spp. in ~70 genera worldwide(2)
Size
3-16 mm [worldwide, 1.6-36+ mm(2)]
Identification
Hind femur longer than abdomen (unlike in other gerromorphs). Thorax varies with degree of wing development: in apterous individuals, pronotum short; in winged forms it extends caudad of wing bases. Many species have two or even three wing morphs.
Range
worldwide and throughout NA(1)(3)
Habitat
surface of ponds and slow-moving streams/rivers
Season
whenever water is not frozen
Food
living or dead insects on the water surface
Remarks
fine water-repellant hairs on the underside of the tarsi allow the bug to walk on water's surface(4)
only the mid- and the hind legs are used for locomotion; they are attached to large coxae connected to the sides of the thorax and are unfit for walking on land(5)
Print References
(6)
Works Cited
1.American Insects: A Handbook of the Insects of America North of Mexico
Ross H. Arnett. 2000. CRC Press.
2.Biodiversity of the Heteroptera
Henry T.J. 2009. In: Foottit R.G., Adler P.H., eds. Insect biodiversity: Science and society. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell: 223-263.
3.Australian Faunal Directory
4.Insects: Their Natural History And Diversity: With a Photographic Guide to Insects of Eastern North America
Stephen A. Marshall. 2006. Firefly Books Ltd.
5.Evolution of the Insects
David Grimaldi and Michael S. Engel. 2005.
6.The Gerridae or water striders of Oregon and Washington (Hemiptera: Heteroptera)
Stonedahl G.M., Lattin J.D. 1982. Oregon State U., Tech. Bull. 144, 36 pp.