Vol. 11 Issue 1, Spring 2006
By Nicole Hamilton
Water boatmen (Hemiptera: Corixdae) are considered beneficial insects. They are small, semi-aquatic insects that can often be found in seasonally flooded wetlands. They paddle around with oar-like hind le
Water boatmen are aquatic bugs that lack gills. Therefore, they breathe air when at the surface of the water. Also, they will carry a bubble of air with them on the surface of their bodies or under their wings and breathe from it when under water. Water boatmen are fully capable of flight. They can move from one ephemeral body of water to the next or on to a more permanent body of water (pond, slow stream) in a time of drought or pollution.
Males make a chirping sound by rubbing their long forelegs on their heads to attract mates. Water boatmen will eat algae, mosquito larvae, and minute aquatic organisms. They are considered beneficial insects because they help control aquatic pests and serve as food for larger aquatic animals. Very cool critters!
Photo by Tom Murray