Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Day 333 - Perfect Pondskaters

Pond Skater (Gerris lacustris) at Fairburn Ings
Hey everyone, today's Day 333 and I just want to say thank you all ever so much for the support on, not just my blog, but on my Twitter Account as well. Just today I hit 1000 followers on Twitter. That is absolutely amazing. I didn't ever think I'd get so many followers! It seem especially nice to have happened on the special day of Day 333. Nature folks are really amazing and supportive so I want to say a truely big thank you to everyone who reads, tweets, favourites and retweets etc.

Another amazing occasion today was that Esme passed her puppy training class, so my post is a bit late today.

Well, as it's such a momentous occasion, I thought I'd cover what doesn't always seem such an amazing thing to look at, but as soon as you take into account where they actually are, then you realise that they are actually amazingly walking on water! I see these incredible creatures lots of pla


ces I go and I have pictures today from the amazing Fairburn Ings and Nosterfield Nature reserves.

Yes, today my post is on the seemingly Perfect Pondskaters!

So, here are the facts:
A gang of pond skaters hanging around on
a rock in the dipping pond at Nosterfield
  • Now, thinking about Pondskaters, ducks and geese also come to mind as these can also can fly and swim. However Pond Skaters go a step further as they can walk on the surface of the water! Ducks and geese can only do that when its frozen!
  • Like many types of insect families there are a number of different species. In the UK the most likely one you will find is the Common Pondskater with a body length of just 1.5cm.
  • One that I have heard of, that I'm sure a lot of my audience will know about, is the Great Pondskater. It actually has a body length of 5 cm and a leg span of a foot!
  • Adult Common Pondskaters are found mainly walking-on-water from April to October.
  • In the winter they hibernate as adults and emerge in April to mate and lay eggs. 
  • Females actually lay egg by going underwater. (So that's why in Zach-Yearofnature-language they should be called. Pond-Mostly-Found-On-Top-Of-Water-s. :-)
  • Eggs hatch quickly and the larvae go through lots of stages of moults (around five instars) until they become adults.
  • Adults are able to walk on water because of water is known as the surface tension, they don't actually break the surface. Their hind legs they use to steer like rudders on a boat, the middle legs are use as oars to propel them.
You can see how the skater balances on the water
surface here and the reflection which looks like they
have massive feet.
  • So, what about their front legs. Well these are used to grasp prey which is generally smaller insects which they hunt for on the waters surface which they grab with their short front legs and stab with their sharp mouthparts.
  • To help them with their hunting they sense ripples on the water with sensitive hairs on their legs.
  • Pondskaters are found all over the UK found mostly in England declining, weirdly, the further North and East you go. They are found in Ireland as well.
  • When I saw some people Pond Dipping at Fairburn Ings I saw that they had caught Pond Skaters. But not for long. Some were actually climbing up the sides of the tray!
  • So, to sum up for these amazing creatures. Huge or small. Found everywhere. can fly, can walk on water and can walk up walls.
Here are some links to some more information:





Hope you enjoyed,

Z.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely captures Zach, I love pondskaters! - Tasha

    ReplyDelete