Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Pond Skaters, Water Crickets.

Salient features of adults. Dwelling (skating) on the surface of water.

Predacious, or feeding on dead arthropods. Tiny to small; 2–8 mm long; fliers, or non-fliers; probably emitting repugnatorial liquid as a defence reaction; relatively stout bodied, or with narrow-elongate bodies; not stilt-legged. Head non-linear. Rostrum clearly separated ventrally from the prosternum by a sclerotized gula; 3 segmented (stout). Antennae longer than the head, readily visible from above; 4 segmented; non-aristate. Metathorax without laterally visible scent gland openings (with a single median opening, cf. Gerridae?). Fore-wings well developed to vestigial or absent; in the resting insect lying more or less flat over the abdomen; when macropterous, more or less uniform in texture. Hind coxae mobile; rotatory. Claws of fore-legs inserted short of the tip of the terminal segment. Pulvilli absent (?). The abdomen covered ventrally with dense, silvery pubescence.

Hemelytra homogeneous. Middle legs inserted about mid-way between fore- and hind-legs.

Taxonomy. Suborder Heteroptera; Gerroidea.

British representation. 5 species in Britain; genera 2. Microvelia, Velia.

Illustrations. • Capsus hirtus Curtis, = black form of C. ater? B. Ent.693. • Capsus hirtus Curtis: B. Ent.693, legend+text. • Capsus hirtus Curtis: B. Ent.693, text cont.. • Microvelia pygmaea: B. Ent. 681. • Microvelia pygmaea: B. Ent. 681, legend+text. • Microvelia pygmaea: B. Ent. 681, legend cont.. • Velia rivulorum Fab. (Winged Pond-skater), mainland-European: B. Ent. 2. • Velia rivulorum Fab. (detail: B. Ent. 2). • Velia rivulorum Fab. (dissections: B. Ent. 2). • Velia rivulorum Fab. (legend+text: B. Ent. 2). • Velia rivulorum Fab. (text: B. Ent. 2, cont.). • Velia caprai, with assorted other water bugs. • Velia caprai, with Gerridae and Reduviidae: Saunders XIV (1892).. • Microvelia pygmaea, with assorted unrelated taxa: Saunders, 1892..

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Hemiptera. Version: 16th May 2016.’.