Water Backswimmer

“Notonectids” (True Bug)
My Home: I am often confused with the Water Boatmen insect, however I can give a stinging painful bite. The easiest way to tell us apart is I swim on my back (upside down). I am found in freshwater ponds, slow moving streams, lakes that have aquatic plants that I can cling to.

What I eat: I eat other insects, small fish, and even tadpoles. I have tube shaped piercing mouth parts. I use my short front legs to grab and attack my prey with a stinging bite. I use my saliva to dissolve my food so I can suck it through my tube shaped mouth parts.

What I look like: My body is dark, and less than 1/2″. My back is oval shaped much like a boat hull, which enables me to swim on my back. I have 6 legs; 2 short front legs and my back legs are long. I carry my air supply with me as a small bubble in my shell. I have wings and fly at night because I am attracted to artificial light.

How I am born: I go through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. My egg is usually attached to underwater plants. I hatch into a nymph and will molt to reach my adult form receiving my wings in the last molt. It takes me around 6 weeks to go from egg to adult. I can live up to a year and even under ice as long as there is food to eat and air bubbles to breath.

Fun Facts: Male backswimmers make a sound under water, much like a cricket, to attract female backswimmers. There are about 400 species of water backswimmers in the world.