What attracted me to these insects was the strange ‘stuff’ attached to their feet, and as they moved very quickly little bubbles were produced around the feet.
They look like spiders but they are insects from the family called Gerridae. They do not bite or sting! They are found where there is water with a reflecting surface. If the water is calm they will usually have larger wings, and shorter wings if the water is flowing quickly. They adapt to changing water conditions, this is known as polymorphism.
Striders skip across the surface of water, moving at a great speed (100 body lengths per second). Most creatures this size would drown, but these stay above the water even if it is turbulent. They can support 15 times their weight without sinking. How do they do this?
The legs have microscopic hairs scored with little grooves which trap air which gives them buoyancy. The legs have more buoyancy than duck feathers, and are created in such a way that super fast movement is possible. While I watched these striders, their movement was so quick that at times I battled to focus on them with my camera.
Striders have three pairs of legs, the shorter front ones are for grabbing prey, the middle legs do the paddling and the back legs are longer and powerful for steering and braking.
The best thing about these amazing creatures is that they eat mosquito larvae! In my opinion they should be bred in their trillions and placed in areas around the world where malaria and other mosquito diseases are rife. No doubt striders are found throughout the world, but I think we need more of them. (Facts from Cool Green Science)
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