HomeInstructionsUse the keyGroupsfamAnatomy
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Hemiptera
Family Veliidae
Common Name Riffle Bug or Broad-Shouldered Water Strider
Distinguishing Characteristics
  • Hind femur short, distally either scarcely or not surpassing apex of abdomen.
  • Metasternum with a pair of lateral scent grooves terminating on pleura in front of hind coxae.
  • Dorsum of head usually with median longitudinal sulcus or glabrous stripe.
  • Mid legs inserted about midway betweeen front and hind legs, except Trochopus and Rhagovelia, which have featherlike structures on the middle tarsus, and Husseyella, which has bladelike structures instead of claws on middle tarsus.
Additional Pictures

     Found throughout North America in lake margins, placid areas of streams, and temporary or permanent ponds. The organism is commonly found among vegetation on the surface of the water. Larvae and adults range in lengths from 1.5-5.5 mm. Categorized as predator feeders, Veliidae feed on surface-dwelling arthropods by detecting their surface vibrations.


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 Veliidae – Broad shouldered water strider." Bugguide.Net. 6 April 2004. Iowa State University Entomology. 16 May 2008 <http://bugguide.net/node/view/26281>.