Water strider

Water strider
Image: David Paul / Museums Victoria
Community type

Reed swamp

Habitat type

Tidal wetlands and macrophytes beds

Water striders or pond skaters are fascinating creatures which seem to glide over the surface of the water. They sense their insect prey by detecting surface ripples, and they hunt by running across the surface of the water. They seem to row or skate across the surface, and can move surprisingly quickly to catch prey, or escape predation. The fine hairs on each leg spread the weight of each leg producing a depression on the water surface, and the surface tension of the water easily supports the light weight of the insect. Water striders are quite easy to recognize, and there is nothing that they could be confused with. Adults and nymphs both inhabit the same types of areas living on the banks of creeks and other water sources. They prefer still water of ponds and lakes, or calm water at the edges of flowing rivers and streams. Water striders are the perfect meal for fish.

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.