Water Strider - Gerris spp.
Family: Gerridae (Leach, 1815) -- water striders / Genus: Gerris (Fabricius, 1794)
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Live adult water striders photographed in the wild on Sawmill Creek at Darien, Illinois, USA.
Water Strider
Water strider, wingless -  about 10mm
Water striders' legs are covered with microsetae, microscopic hairs that trap tiny bubbles of air, allowing them to float on top of the water.

Water striders are predacious and carnivorous. The front legs have become shortened and adapted to catching and holding prey while the bug sucks out internal juices (fig.1). The middle set of legs are used like oars to propel the bug through the water, and the hind legs are used for steering.

Water Strider
fig. 1
Water Strider
sucking the guts out of a springtail
Water striders can vary in length from 1.6 mm to 36 mm. Their body shape ranges from slender and elongate to almost completely round.  Similar to other bug groups (such as Pyrrhocoridae), the development of wings can vary significantly within the same population. Most of the individuals in a community are wingless, but a few develop fully formed flying wings which are used in moving to distant locations and establishing new breeding populations.
Winged Water Strider
  1. Bugguide.net, Water Strider - Gerris spp.
  2. Alfred G. Wheeler and Sir T. Richard E. Southwood FRS, Biology of the Plant Bugs (Hemiptera: Miridae), 2001.
  3. National Science Foundation  New South Wales, Plant Bug Planetary Biodiversity Inventory, Plant Bugs (Miridae)
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Order Hemiptera: True Bugs number almost 5,000 species in North America, and 40,000 worldwide. They have mouthparts formed into a beak, adapted for sucking plant juices or the liquefied insides of their animal prey.
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha - Cicadas & Planthoppers
Suborder Sternorrhyncha - Aphids, scales, mealybugs, jumping plant lice
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