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Water Strider (Various spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Water Strider

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Image Credit: Arch Baker
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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.

Updated: 07/15/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Long, thin hind legs give Water Striders a slight resemblance to spiders, but they are not related. Mating pairs may appear to be one large, eight-legged Water Strider (which also looks like an arachnid). 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 water molecule. A Water Strider 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. Mosquito larvae are also a food source. 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. They are adept at moving away when the water is disturbed.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Harmless insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Gerridae
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          Genus: Various
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Other Name(s): Pond Skater, Water Skipper, Jesus Bug
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 16mm (0.43" to 0.62")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown, black, ivory
Descriptors: long, skinny, float, aquatic, water, harmless, spider legs

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 11mm (0.4in) and 16mm (0.6in)
Lo: 11mm
Md: 13.5mm
Hi: 16mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Water Strider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Water Strider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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