Pond skater

  • Scientific name: Gerris lacustris
  • Type: Insects

Key information

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 they eat:

Small insects.


About 15 mm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Pond Shed

Where and when to see them

Pond skaters can be seen on ponds. Also in parks and on slow-moving freshwater.

Pond skaters can be seen from early spring until autumn. You may see hibernating adults clustered groups in sheds or other sheltered places.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec