Water Strider

Gerris sp.

Water striders are the first insects that can be seen on the water each spring.

Description
The water strider is actually a land bug which likes to spend time on the water's surface. There are ten Gerris species which resemble each other but differ in size. According to type, they may be between 6 and 20mm long. Flattened bodies, long middle and hind legs, fine coat of hair; some are wingless.

Distribution
Found on all stagnant and slowly-moving waters, often in great numbers.

Endangerment and Conservation Status
Very common in Central Europe.

Behaviour
Water striders move with jerky movements across the water's surface, the tension on the surface of the water preventing them from going under. They prey on terrestrial insects which fall into the water. Females lay eggs over the course of months, distributing them on aquatic plants.

Special Characteristics
If disturbed, these animals may jump up to half a meter across the water's surface in one leap!