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 ?
Influence of the predatory backswimmer, Notonecta maculata, on invertebrate community structure.
Some observations on the diet of the backswimmer, Anisops wakefieldi (Hemiptera: Notonectidae).
Summer distribution patterns of the backswimmer, Anisops wakefieldi (Hemiptera: Notonectidae), in a New Zealand pond.
Effects of backswimmer (Notonecta) predation on crayfish (Pacifastacus) young: autotomy and behavioural responses.
Stability and extinction of laboratory populations of zooplankton preyed on by the backswimmer Notonecta.
Backswimmers are the scuba divers of the insect world.
Examples of true bugs are giant water bugs and backswimmers.
Like backswimmers, water boatmen can be seen swimming under the ice during winter.
The effects of fish and pH on the distribution and abundance of backswimmers (Hemiptera: Notonectidae).
diving beetle larvae, backswimmers, other odonate larvae) (see also Reist 1980b).
By manipulating food and exposure to predators, Sih (1980, 1987) showed that backswimmers were capable of balancing the conflicting demands of hunger and predator avoidance when choosing a microhabitat.