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).
Backswimmers are the scuba divers of the insect world.
The Family Pleidae (pygmy backswimmers) was identified to Plea at NPS2.
The literally dozens of study systems considered include bryozoans, cladocerans, mussels, nematodes, gorillas, backswimmers, sunfish, damselfish, hummingbirds, chickadees, oystercatchers, wagtails, snakes, lions, wildebeests, antlions, and plants.
Because their backs are shaped like the bottom of a sailboat, backswimmers move smoothly near the top of the water.
The effects of fish and pH on the distribution and abundance of backswimmers (Hemiptera: Notonectidae).
n Learn about 'Boatmen and Backswimmers' at Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve, The Interpretative Centre, off Eachelhurst Road, Erdington, Birmingham, Monday 11am12.30pm and 2pm-3.30pm.
Examples of very different overwintering strategies include some corixids (water boatmen) that overwinter in air bubbles in ice, some Pleidae (pygmy backswimmers) that switch to plastron respiration to overwinter on the bottom of ponds, some ochterids (velvety shore bugs) that overwinter as nymphs on moss on soil, some hydrometrids (marsh treaders) that overwinter as adults on land far from water, and some veliids (broad-shouldered water striders) that are active in the warmer days in winter.
The defensive spines should, in contrast, offer little defense against most invertebrate predators (with piercing or chewing mouthparts; e.g., 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.