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Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Hemiptera
Suborder Heteroptera
Family Gerridae
Common Name Water strider
Distinguishing Characteristics
  • Hind femur longer than abdomen
  • Body and legs covered in small hairs
  • Median scent gland opening in metasternal region
  • No lateral scent grooves
  • Mid legs inserted closer to hind legs than fore legs
Additional Pictures
     Found throughout North America, there are 47 species and 8 genera. Larvae and adults range from 3-16 mm in length and can be found on the surface of temporary or permanent ponds, and in slow-moving areas of rivers and streams. Feeding on small insects, dead or alive,Gerridae are predator feeders.

     Gerridae uses the small hairs on its body and legs for moving across the wate surface. The head is usually elongated in front of the eyes to form a rostrum. The development of the wings can vary significantly within the population. They can move very quickly, up to 1.5 meters per second. They paddle forward with the middle pair of their legs, using fore- and hind-legs as a rudder.

QuickTime Movies


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.

"Family Gerridae – Water striders." Bugguide.Net. 16 February 2004. Iowa State University Entomology. 16 May 2008 <http://bugguide.net/node/view/163>.