Water Boatman

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

Water Boatmen (Corixidae) are small (less than .5 in) flat, oval, brown or gray bugs. They are found throughout North America in slow-moving streams and ponds (and birdbaths), and a few can be found in estuaries and brackish ponds near the ocean.

Water Boatmen can be seen swimming right side up along the bottom of a pond using their short, scoop-like front legs to gather plant food and algae. Their oar-shaped hind legs help them swim. Water Boatmen trap air under their shell in order to breathe underwater. They hook their legs on underwater plants and rocks to keep from floating to the surface.

Did you know? Water Boatmen fly towards artificial lights at night, sometimes in great numbers.

See Also: Ladybug, Spittlebug, Water Strider