Lesser water boatman
|Lesser water boatman|
They normally grow to between 5 and 15 mm long, and are found in ponds, lakes and sometimes even swimming pools. The boatman feeds on algae and dead plant material. They have long hind legs which they use to swim on top of water. These powerful legs are covered in tiny hairs which helps them float on the surface of the water. The boatman's mating call, generated by rubbing the penis against the abdomen, is the loudest sound, relative to body size, in the animal kingdom.
They breathe oxygen by trapping air beneath their wing cases when they are on the surface as the oxygen is trapped by tiny hairs.
They are similar to Notonecta glauca, the water boatman or back swimmer by appearance, although these lesser waterboatman are herbivores and swim on their fronts. They are not related to Notonecta glauca, the water boatman or back swimmer.