Currently viewing the category: "Water Striders"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Strange critters in my pool
Location: Durban, South Africa
November 12, 2013 9:32 am
Good day.
I’ve got a bit of a problem in my pool at the moment.
I’ve more or less always had these strange 4 legged creatures in my pool, but no more than a dozen or so usually.
Description:
4 legged water insect
Stays consistently on the surface of the water (minuscus).
EXTREMELY fast moving across the surface of the water.
Mostly avoids humans. If I walk along the edges of the pool they usually see me and move away.
Very difficult to catch, tried with a pool net, one, they’re fast, two, when I actually catch them, they jump out of the net.
The adults I suppose, are no longer than an inch in length.
I’ve decided to post this because as I said, usually I’d see a dozen or two of them.
Today I went to my pool and I kid you not, I must have seen about 500 to 1000 baby versions of these critters in there. The babies are no bigger than the nail on my pinky finger, and even smaller actually.
I’d to know what they are. So I can do a bit more reading on them, figure out why they’re in my pool, and find a way to remove them.
And I’ve used you’re site successfully before to identify other weird things in my house.
The closest I found while googling was a water scorpion, but if you look at my pictures attached, you will see that these things don’t have any tail of any sort.
Information about Durban. Warm, moderately humid. Summers are 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Winters are 10 to 20 degrees Celsius.
In summer we do have alotta thunderstorms. Winters are largely dry.
Looking forward for some assistance on the matter.
PS I do photography as a hobby and it pains me that my SLR was dead today so I had to use my cell phone camera instead. I think the photo quality is still good enough for you to inspect the salient characteristics of the bugs.
Thank you and kind regards
Signature: Avi

Water Striders

Water Striders

Dear Avi,
Thanks for your thorough account.  These are Water Striders in the family Gerridae, and according to BugGuide, they are also called “Pond Skaters, Jesus Bugs, Water Skippers.”
  They feed on insects that fall onto the surface of the water.  If you get your SLR repaired, we would love better photos.

Water Striders

Water Striders

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Water Striders
Location: Tucquan Glen, Lancaster County PA
October 29, 2013 10:36 am
Hi Daniel!
I read your comment about wishing you had more photographs of water striders. I attached a few shots that I took several weeks ago at Tucquan Glen in Lancaster County PA.
There are two shots of an adult with prey and a group of young individuals. They were not easy to photograph due to their constant motion.
Melody McFarland
Lancaster PA
Signature: Melody McFarland

Water Strider

Water Strider

Hi Melody,
Thanks so much for supplying some additional photos of Water Striders in the family Gerridae for our site.  We see from the metadata on the digital image that your photos were taken on September 26, 2013.  It appears that the adults do not have wings, so we thought they might be nymphs as well, but your individuals resemble this photo from BugGuide of a member of the genus
Trepobates which BugGuide indicates:  “Superficially resembles nymphs of Gerris. First antennomere shorter than three others combined.”  Water Striders are perfectly adapted for skating across the surface of the water, and according to BugGuide:  “fine water-repellant hairs on the underside of the tarsi allow the bug to walk on water’s surface; 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.”

Water Striders

Water Striders

Alas, we haven’t the necessary skills to distinguish one species from another or even to definitively determine the correct genus, so our identification might be incorrect.  Your photos which illustrate the feeding habits are a marvelous addition to our archive.

Water Strider

Water Strider

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Texas Pool Bugs
Location: Texas
October 28, 2013 8:07 am
please tell me what this thing is!!! have no clue
Signature: thank you TRay

Water Strider

Water Strider

Dear TRay,
We wish we had more photos of Water Striders on our site.  They are amazing true bugs that spend their immature phase skating across the water in search of prey, especially insects that fall onto the water’s surface.  When they attain adulthood, they are capable of flight.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Red water strider
Location: Bradys Lake, Monroe county, NE PA
June 26, 2013 4:47 pm
Water strider found in a freshwater swampy lake in northeastern PA today 6-26-13. Never saw a red one. Our common one is Gerris, which are black ( and larger) but we never saw a red one. This one is about 3/4 the size of a an adult Gerris.
Signature: Barb in PA

Water Strider

Water Strider

Hi Barb,
When we read your subject line and saw the thumbnail attachment, we suspected a phoretic mite colony on the Water Strider, but upon enlarging the photo, that does not appear to be the case.  We don’t know why this Water Strider is red, but it does not seem typical.  The lack of wings indicates this is an immature specimen, hence its smaller size.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What are these little water bugs?
Location: Boulder Colorado
August 1, 2012 8:24 pm
Hey Bugman!
I saw these little creatures today here in sunny Colorado in a small pool of water. At first glance they looked like some sort of fly that would stride on the water. While watching them for awhile longer, a leaf hopper jumped into the water and suddenly every one of these water flies swarmed it and devoured the leaf hopper! What are they?!
Signature: Michael Lohr

Water Striders

Hi Michael,
These are Water Striders in the family Gerridae.  They are able to skate across the surface of calm bodies of water without sinking thanks to a wide leg span that disperses the weight as well as water repellent hairs on their legs.  According to BugGuide, they are found “surface of temporary or permanent ponds, and slow-moving areas of streams and rivers” and they feed on “small living or dead insects on the water surface.”  We are not certain if these are immature Water Striders or if they are just a very small species.

Water Striders

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

mystery insect
Location: South of Ireland
September 23, 2011 7:16 pm
Could you please identify the insect in the attaced photo. There are many of them in a river near my home in Ireland.
Signature: David

Water Striders

Hi David,
Water Striders are such common insects on ponds, lakes, streams and slow moving rivers, that we cannot understand why they are so underrepresented on our site.  Because the spread of their legs distributes their weight evenly across a greater surface area, Water Striders are able to skate across the water without breaking the surface.  Water Striders feed on small insects that fall onto the water’s surface.  One group of ocean dwelling Water Striders contains the only true pelagic insects that are found far out to sea on the open ocean.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination