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Pond skater

Insect

Gerris lacustris

Pond skaters have thin, brownish-grey bodies and small heads with large eyes. They use their legs to move across the pond’s surface. Using a rowing action the middle pair of legs propel them forwards, often at great speed. The back legs act as rudders while the short front legs seize dead or dying insects that have dropped onto the water. They have sensitive hairs on their  bodies and legs to detect vibrations and ripples on the pond surface.

These insects are agile and can jump to evade predators. They are common and widespread throughout the UK.

Pond skaters can be found on most stretches of still or slow-moving freshwater. They have wings and are good fliers. In autumn they fly away from water to hibernate, emerging again in late April.

What does it eat?

Small insects.

When will I see it?

From early spring until autumn. You may see hibernating adults clustered groups in sheds or other sheltered places.

Where will I see it?

On ponds. Also in parks and on slow-moving freshwater.

Vital statistics

Length: About 15 mm

Calendar

Not seen in JanuaryNot seen in FebruaryNot seen in MarchSeen in AprilSeen in MaySeen in JuneSeen in JulySeen in AugustSeen in SeptemberSeen in OctoberNot seen in NovemberNot seen in December

Key to calendar

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