backswimmer

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backswimmer,

common name for water bugswater bug,
name for a large number of water-living bugs, comprising several families of the order Hemiptera (true bugs). All have jointed, sharp, sucking beaks, breathe air, and undergo gradual metamorphosis (see insect).
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 of the cosmopolitan family Notonectidae, so named because they swim upside down, usually near the surface of the water. They have oval bodies and long, oarlike hind legs, with which they swim rapidly, but their backs are more convex than those of the water boatmen. The exposed belly is yellowish to black. Backswimmers, 1-8 to 1-2 in. (3–12 mm) long, feed on small crustaceans, insect larvae, snails, and sometimes on small fish and tadpoles from which they suck the body juices. They can inflict a painful bite on a human being. Most of the 50 North American species overwinter as adults. The eggs are usually laid on submerged plants or rocks and development to the adult stage takes 40 to 60 days. Backswimmers are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Hemiptera, family Notonectidae.
References in periodicals archive ?
30pm every Thursday in August, an event called Boatmen And Backswimmers is a chance to join the Edgbaston Reservoir rangers to find out more about the various land and pond creatures on the site.
MONDAY nHunt out boatmen and backswimmers at Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve, off Eachelhurst Road, Erdington.