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Pondskaters Andy

13/11/2004. Fujifilm S1 pro, 105 Sigma Macro lens, 1/30 F8.

Pondskaters in Autumn (Gerris Lacustris)

Location: New Forest  National Park, Stream.

Called pondskaters because they skate on top of the water surface by tiny water-repellent hairs on its feet. Insects fallen and trapped on the water surface are located by following the ripples using sensitive hairs on its legs and body and large eyes. The front pair of legs is then used to grasp their prey using its beak-like mouth to stab and pierce then suck the body fluids from the captured insect. 

They propel themselves around the water surface in jerky movements using their middle pair of legs which act as oars and the rear hind legs are used as rudders to steer.

Eggs are laid in May and nymphs moult many times before becoming an adult they fly away from water to hibernate in the autumn.  Pondskaters are very agile and can move fast. They can use the water surface as a trampoline and jump to avoid predators I remember with cupped hands trying to capture a few in a stream thinking I could keep a few in nearby flooded ditch for easy photography only to see all the pondskaters jumping over my hand at speed think I would need a net next time, or a lot of patients.

Ponskater1 450w
Ponskater2 450w