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Pond Skater

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Pond Skater Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
Common Name:
Most widely used name for this species
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
The place where something is found
What kind of foods the animal eats
Size (L):
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
1.6mm - 3.6mm (0.06in - 0.14in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
0.1g - 0.5g (0.004oz - 0.018oz)
Number Of Species:
The total number of recorded species
Average Lifespan:
The average time the animal lives for
1 - 6 months
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
Least Concern
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Black. Brown, Yellow, Tan
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Still water
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Insects, Larvae
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Fish, Frogs, Birds
Distinctive Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Armoured shell and walk on water

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Pond Skater Location

Map of Pond Skater Locations

Pond Skater

The pond skater is a delicate water-based insect commonly found on still bodies of water across the Northern Hemisphere. There are around 500 different species of pond skater that are known by a variety of different names including water striders, water bugs, magic bugs, skaters, skimmers, water scooters, water skaters, water skeeters, water skimmers, water skippers and Jesus bugs.

The pond skater is most commonly found across Europe where they live on the surface of ponds, slow streams, marshes, and other quiet waters, in all parts of the continent. Pond skaters are most well known for their ability to "walk on water", where pond skaters use surface tension to delicately walk on the surface of the water.

Pond skaters float on the surface of the water sensing vibrations and ripples in the water with sensitive hairs on their legs and bodies. If an insect accidentally falls into the water, the ripples it makes will tell the pond skater exactly where it is and the pond skater will dart across the surface of the pond to catch its prey.

The long legs of the pond skater mean that they are very agile on the surface of the water and can jump to evade a predator or to catch an insect. Pond skaters however, do not spend all their time on the water as they will fly far from water to hibernate through the winter and then re-emerge from hibernation in the warmer spring.

The pond skater is a carnivorous insect that feeds only on other invertebrates in order to survive. Despite their thin and floaty appearance, the pond skater is actually a pretty aggressive predator, pouncing on insects that land on the water's surface. Insect larvae are the other main food source for the pond skater.

Due to its small size and prominent appearance on the water's still surface, the pond skater is easily spotted by other pond-life. Fish and newts in the water along with birds, frogs and toads on the surface are the main predators of the pond skater.

Pond skaters are known to mate on the surface of the water in the warming months of spring and early summer, before the female pond skater returns to the water's edge to lay her eggs on a leaf where they will be safer from predators. When hatched, the pond skater nymph drop into the water where they continue to develop, before emerging on the surface as water-walking adults.

Although, a common sight on garden ponds throughout Europe, pond skaters in less cultivated areas are being increasingly affected by the rising levels of pollution in the natural freshwater sources.

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First Published: 5th July 2010, Last Updated: 8th November 2019

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2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 05 Jul 2010]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 05 Jul 2010]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 05 Jul 2010]