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Family Gerridae - Water Striders

Water Strider - Aquarius remigis - male Gerridae - Gerris buenoi Water Strider - Limnoporus canaliculatus Red Rock Crossing - Aquarius remigis mating Trepobates - Trepobates subnitidus - male - female water strider gerrid - Aquarius remigis Limnoporus? at Oxtongue River
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
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 (not longer than abdomen in other gerromorphans)
Structure of thorax varies with degree of wing development. In apterous individuals, pronotum short. In winged forms it extends caudad of wing bases.
Wing polymorphism widespread in Gerridae. Many species represented by two or even three different wing morphs.
Range
worldwide and throughout NA(1)(3)
Habitat
surface of temporary or permanent ponds, and slow-moving areas of streams and rivers
Season
year-round in the south; whenever water is not frozen in the north
Food
small 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)
Internet References
Oregon State U. The Gerridae or Water Striders of Oregon and Washington.
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.