The water strider is classed as a true bug (a member of the Gerridae family) and lives on or around the surface of freshwater.
Despite being denser than water, it can skate across the surface without breaking through. Its feet bend in such a way that the water deforms, much like elastic fi lm thanks to tiny hairs that trap air bubbles between them and the water’s surface.
Its middle legs act as paddles, making movement possible, while its long rear legs enable it to steer and even brake as it glides across the water.
Its front legs are also short enough to grab prey – living or dead – along the way. Thankfully, the speed at which the water strider can move means it stands a chance against its own predators.
A water strider catches its prey by “reading” the motion of waves that form on the water surface when an insect flounders. Recorded which of legs first touched the wave, and the time that it took him to get to the other legs. Based on that informatio water strider “calculate” from which direction the wave arrived and goes on the hunt.
Water strider facts
Paddle legs – Its middle legs act like paddles and enable the bug to move across the water’s surface.
Long legs – The rear legs are long and used for steering and braking.
Surface tension – The cohesive forces among liquid molecules cause surface tension.
Hair – The water strider has hairs on its legs and underside of its body that trap air.
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