Common Pondskater - Gerris lacustris
Approximately 8-10mm, generally brown with a black pronotum and black antennae. There are several similar-looking species of pondskaters, of which this is the commonest and most likely to be found in a garden pond, but examination of a specimen is needed to be sure of the species.
Gerris thoracisus has a pale brown pronotum (as do two other Gerris species). G. gibbifer and G. odontogaster share the black pronotum and antennae and look very similar but can be separated by the extent of the black markings on the inside of the front femur (less than two thirds in G. lacustris).
- Black pronotum and dark overall
- Dark antennae
- Black markings on the inside of the front femur don't extend more than two thirds the length
A specimen needs to be examined. Please explain how you identified this species.
Pools and ponds, including garden ponds.
Adults all year round peaking April to October.
Pondskaters have very long legs and water-repellent feet which they use to skim across the surface tension 'film' of the water. They are quickly attracted to movement in the surface film, such as the struggles of a non-aquatic insect that has fallen into the water. The pondskater will then 'row' across the water at high speed to investigate and secure its prey, using its front legs to grasp the victim. It flies well as an adult and quickly colonises a newly created garden pond. Nymphs: June to August.
Common and found throughout Britain.
Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.
Leicestershire & Rutland Map
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Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015