Water Strider

2016 January 27

Sam found this water strider on the hood of our car on August 31, 2015. While it looks to be in good shape, it was actually stone dead.

It was a hot, sunny day, and what we think happened was that the water strider was flying by, and was fooled by the light reflecting off the hood into thinking the car was a pool of water. And then, when it landed, the car hood was so hot that the insect cooked instantly, immobilizing it into a natural-looking pose.

Anyway, this looks like the same species that I photographed back in 2008. The pictures that I got last time were only so-so. It is normally pretty hard to photograph water striders while they are alive, so this was a good opportunity to get some better pictures. Here’s its face, for example:

And here is its underside, which is hard to see in living specimens because they just won’t hold still. This is another example of countershading camouflage, where it is darker on top and lighter on the bottom to minimize the effects of shadows in showing its shape.

I’m not entirely sure whether this is in the genus Aquarius, or the genus Limnoporus. They both exist around here, and both look similar. And neither of them has a species listed on BugGuide with that little white “V” on the back that can be seen in the first picture.

Anyway, like I said last time, these are predatory bugs that skate rapidly over the surface of the water, snatching up small insects that hang out near the surface (like mosquito larvae) or larger insects that fall into the water accidentally (like everything else). As predatory bugs, it is possible that they might bite if handled, but really they are so hard to catch in the first place that I don’t see this as being a problem.

4 Responses
  1. January 27, 2016

    I remember seeing these as a kid in Oklahoma. I loved them. I never knew they were predators. I think that might have made them even better for me.

  2. February 20, 2016

    Long time no post. Are you OK?

  3. February 21, 2016

    KT: I’ve been posting right along, there have been seven posts since this one. I don’t know why you wouldn’t have been seeing them, unless it had to do with the update to my WordPress version a while back. Maybe my RSS feed has gone wrong?

  4. February 21, 2016

    No worries. It’s happened before. I was just concerned that something had happened. Now to go catch up …

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