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Life in Freshwater

Greater Waterboatman (Notonecta spp)

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Side view Greater Water Boatman
Side view with tip of abdomen at the water surface and long hind, paddle-leg projecting down from the body

 

At around 1.5 cm in length this is a very active swimming bug. In section, the animal is triangular and the wings fold neatly over the keeled dorsal surface. The wings are greyish in colour and are used to disperse the insect from pond to pond. The hind legs are long and paddle-like, strongly fringed with hairs. The eyes are particularly large. During early summer the young nymphal stages can be found. They are very similar but lacking the wings are almost white.

These are widespread across Europe wherever there is standing water. They are principally, pond dwellers but may be found near the edge of slow moving rivers.

ECOLOGY: They are voracious predators. The mouthparts consist of a long pointed proboscis called the stylet. They feed by inserting the sharp stylet into the prey and drawing off body fluids. If picked up they will bite and are know to attack small fish as well as insects. It breathes air by floating to the surface and trapping a bubble of air beneath its wings, giving it a shinny appearance

 Classification:

 

 Kingdom

Animal

 Phylum

Arthropoda

 Class

Insecta

 Order

Hemiptera - true bugs


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