The pond skater is a small insect that can “skate” over water with their specially designed long splayed paddle like legs. This allows them to spread their weight evenly over a large surface area.
They are tiny dark brown or grey insects with round eyes that protrude from the sides of their heads. They have long feet, except for the front two, which are very short.
Their fur/hair is water repellent. This shields their bodies from coming into direct contact with the water. They stay on the surface of water and feed on the remains of dead plants and animals.
Their feet have tiny velvety hairs that trap air which also help him to skate over water without falling in.
They live in still waters, like ponds, and feed on insects found in the water, even nymphs of their own kind.
Their body hair also helps them gather food. They float on the water surface and respond to the ripples in the water, which they feel with their hairs. If insects fall onto the water, the pond skater responds to the difference in the water ripples. Because he is so fast skating across the water, the insect does not have a chance. This alert response allows them to escape from predators feeding on them.
During winter, they hibernate moving away from water, and come back out onto the waters’ surface in late April early May.
Reproductions of pond skaters occur on the water’s surface, where the male pond skater uses his short front legs to grip his female counterpart. When it is time to lay the eggs, they move onto land.