Water boatman

Community type

Reed swamp

Habitat type

Tidal wetlands and macrophytes beds

Water boatmen are amongst the most abundant of water bugs and are found throughout Australia and Tasmania. They occur in the shallow water around vegetation or on the muddy bottom of wetlands and streams in still and slowly flowing areas. Despite spending most of their lives underwater they don’t have gills, so need to regularly surface for air by breaking the surface with their head. Adult water boatman are strong fliers enabling them to disperse between water bodies. Most water boatman are omnivorous eating small organic matter of either plant or animal origin but certain species prey upon small invertebrates such as fly larvae. They are in turn food for native fish and introduced fish such as trout.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.