Water Strider (Gerris spp.)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Water Strider, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 8/1/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The amazing properties of water and simple physical attributes allow Water Striders to stay afloat, and even move, across a calm aquatic surface.
Long, thin hind legs give Water Striders a slight resemblance to spiders, but they are not related. Mating pairs appear to be a larger, eight-legged Water Strider, which also looks like a floating arachnid. Because water has a high surface tension and the insect has hairy legs, Water Striders are able to coast across the surface without breaking the attractive bonds between each dihydrogen oxide molecule. They can stand still, glide and even skip across water effortlessly. Some species also have wings.
Females lay fertilized eggs just under the water's surface. Nymphs will molt many times as they grow larger and develop into adults. Both nymphs and adults consume insects and other small creatures that fall into the water nearby. Adults are even known to prey on very young Water Striders and do not seem able to identify their own children. Though they are aquatic predators, they are not a threat to humans.
Look for Water Striders on still or slow-moving waters such as ponds, puddles, lagoons, streams, creeks, lakes and coves.