The amazing properties of water and its simple physical attributes allow a Water Strider 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 may appear to be one larger, eight-legged Water Strider, which also looks like an arachnid except it is floating. Because water has a high surface tension and the insect has hairy legs, a Water Strider is able to coast across the surface without breaking the attractive bonds between each dihydrogen oxide molecule. It 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 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.
Scientific Name: Gerris spp.
Other Name(s): Pond Skater
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 16mm (0.43in to 0.62in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.