Backswimmer or Notonectidae

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Back Swimmer


A waterbug that can be found in a pond or little
stream. The Backswimmer is a really fast water bug that
uses it hindlegs for rowing through the water.
They have the strange habit to swim upside down.
The backswimmer has a piercing beak that injects vermon
in its prey, or youre finger or toe. For this reason some
other name for the Backswimmer are: toebiter, water wesp,
waterbee as the bite cause a painly burning sensation.

An adult Backswimmer.


On its ventral side the Backswimmer uses an airbubble to
take the air in. This bubble also provides a lift to the surface.
The Backswimmer clings to the underside of the watersurface
until it founds its prey, using its big eyes for noticing.

This Backswimmer sticks with its back to the surface,
The eyes are the lowest point, observing the space beneath him.
This big eyes need clear and clean water for detecting its prey.


These are always hungry bugs, and feed on tadpoles and
mosquito larvae. But no fish is safe in the aquarium, they
attack even a prey that is much large then themselves, for
example a Stickleback or a youre toe.

Backswimmer as a pest

Sometimes there are to many Backswimmers in a pond.
They will attack and eat youre fish.
Buy one (common) Sunfish! that one will eat those nasty
Backswimmers. Two sunfishes will produce offspring, do
the same terible things that the Backswimmers do,
eating youre goldfish.

    An adult Backswimmer . The strong hind legs are covered with long

    A young Corixa or Water boatsman. They can easely be confused
    with the Backswimmer because of there resemblence:
    But Water boatmen swim on normally (wings up) and have stripes on there back.
    Water boatsmen are peaceful insects feeding on algae.
    This photo's and the three other large photo's
    are made by Jaap Costo Budde


    Backswimmers do fly from one ditch to the next one.
    But on the land they have a clumsy walk as the hind legs
    are not suitable to walk with.

    A Backswimmer on the land.

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