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Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Hemiptera
Suborder Heteroptera
Family Corixidae
Common Name Water Boatman
Distinguishing Characteristics
  • Antennae shorter than head inserted beneath eyes, not visible from above.
  • Beak triangular and very short.
  • Beak is unsegmented.
  • The front tarsus is with a single segment with stiff setae forming a rake.
Additional Pictures
     There are 500 species in 33 genera, distributed throughout North America. The preferred habitat is small ponds and slow moving streams feeding on aquatic plants and algae.

     Corixidae is in the family of aquatic insects in the order Hempitera. It is also known as the “water boatmen.” Corixidae are known for their triangular beaks. They also have four long rear legs that are used for swimming. These legs resemble oars and are the reason why Corixidae has the nickname water boatmen. They have two short front legs used for gripping food and objects. Corixidae are usually found near the bottom of the water, unlike their relatives the backswimmers (Notonectidae), who look very similar in appearance to the Corixids. They use their straw-like mouthparts to inject saliva into plants. This saliva digests plant material, allowing Corixidae to digest the material.The water boatmen have an annual reproductive cycle. The eggs are deposited on submerged plants, sticks, or rocks. Corixidae eggs tend to hatch during warmer seasons, typically in May or June.

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Additional Links



Merritt, R W., K W. Cummins, and M B. Berg. An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Company, 2008