Pond skater, common water-strider
Pond skaters float on the surface of water sensing vibrations and ripples with the sensitive hairs on their legs and bodies.
Pond skaters are about 20mm long.
A thin dark brown or grey insect with round eyes that project from the sides of its head. Except for the front pair, the legs are long. The body and legs are covered in dense velvety hairs, which prevent the pond skater from falling through the surface of the water.
They are widespread and common in Britain and Europe.
These insects inhabit ponds and areas of still water, except brackish water.
They feed on a diet of insects.
Pond skaters float on the surface of water sensing vibrations and ripples in the water with sensitive hairs on their legs and bodies. If an insect accidentally falls into the water, the ripples it makes will tell the pond skater exactly where it is and often what it is. The pond skater will dart across the surface of the pond to catch the stricken insect. Pond skaters also hunt other surface-dwelling insects including nymphs of their own species.
Pond skaters are very agile on the surface of the water and can jump to evade a predator.
This species will fly far from water to hibernate through the winter. They emerge from hibernation in late April.
Pond skaters mate on the surface of the water, the male uses his short front legs to grip onto the female. They lay their eggs on land.
They are not listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.