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Water Strider

Water Strider

Gerris remigis

(Order: Hemiptera, Family: Gerridae)

Gerris rimigis. (From: http://hodnett-ap.wikispaces.com/Chapter+3+Water+and+the+Fitness+of+the+...)

Adult Diagnosis:  Water striders are very unique and can be identified fairly easily.  They can be characterized by their hydrophobic microhairs they have on their body.  These hairs allow them to walk on water. They have a long, narrow body with dull to grayish or reddish-brown color on the ventral side, and a silvery gray color on their dorsal side.  Adults are 5/8 inch long.

Copulation of G. remigis (From: http://theearlybirder.com/insects/hemiptera/gerridae/index.htm)

Adult Natural History:  G. remigis goes through an egg stage, five instar stages of nymphal forms, and then onto the adult stage.  Each instar stage lasts about 7-10 days, then molts.  Nymphs and adults share both the same behavior and diet through each stage.  They do differ in tarsal segments and genital segments.  Depending on the temperature of the water the eggs are laid in, it takes 60-70 days to reach adulthood.

Distribution:  Water striders are common throughout the United States.

Habitat:  Areas of fresh, calm, warm water with rocks present to oviposit eggs on, and areas with an abundance of zooplankton.

Diet:  G. remigis is predacious and feeds on invertebrates: insects and spiders that fall onto the water surface.

Conservation Status:  Stable

Videos:

 

Links:

Common Water Strider. Gerris remigis. http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/common_water_strider.htm

Live Science. Walking on Water: Insect's secret revealed. http://www.livescience.com/62-walking-water-insect-secret-revealed.html

References:

Fairbairn, D.J., 1985. Comparative Ecology of Gerris remigigs (Hemiptera: Gerridae) in Two Habitats: a Habitat of Paradox of Habitat Choice. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 63(11) 2594-2603

Fairbairn, D.J., 2008. Adaptive Significance of Wing Dimorphism in the Absence of Dispersal: A Comparative Study of Wing Morphs in the Water Strider, Gerris remigis. Ecological Entomology. 13(3) 273-281.

Submitted by:  Vance Cole, November 2011

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