Common Pond Skater

Common Pond Skater

Common Pond Skater - Gerris lacustris

Member of the Gerridae Family, which includes some of the most evolved surface-living hempiterans.

The Common Pond Skater has a narrow, brownish-black body up to 17 mm long, with long antennae and generally well developed wings which it uses to fly.

The legs (the 2nd and 3rd pairs are much longer than the first pair carried in front of its head) as well as the underside of the body are covered with a woolly coat of water-repellent hairs.

These prevent the insect from getting wet and allow it to skate more easily across the surface of the water by taking advantage of surface tension. Its quick, jerky movements are mostly made by the second pair of legs, whilst the third pair, dragged behind, act as a rudder.

The pond skater uses its front legs for catching prey, usually small insects that fall on the water surface and remain trapped on the surface film.

The Pond Skater spots them by sight, even more accurately, can perceive them by vibrations on the water surface. Very common. Found on all stretches of still, fresh water.

During the breeding season in spring, it is not unusual to see the male and female mating, swimming together one on top of the other.

The eggs are laid under water. Immature stages lead the same life style as adults.