Pond Skater

Gerris lacustris

About

There are nine species of pond skater in the UK, which range between 1-2cm in length. Often seen in large groups, they 'skate' around on the surface of the water on ponds, lakes, ditches and slow-flowing rivers, feeding on smaller insects which they stab with their sharp mouthparts or 'beaks'. The Common Pond Skater emerges from hibernation in April and lays its eggs. Hatching soon after, the nymphs go through a number of moults.

How to identify

The brownish-black Common Pond Skater is only likely to be confused with the smaller, thinner, more fragile-looking Water Measurer, or the smaller, chunkier, shorter-legged Water Cricket.

Where to find it

Widespread.

Habitats

When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November

How can people help

Human activity, including the drainage of land for agriculture and the loss of ponds through development, has resulted in the disappearance of many wetlands. The Wildlife Trusts are working closely with planners, developers and farmers to ensure our wetlands are protected. You can help too: encourage all kinds of insects from Pond Skaters to dragonflies into your garden by having a wildlife-friendly pond. In turn, they'll provide vital food for other creatures such as frogs and toads. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Pond Skater
Latin name
Gerris lacustris
Category
Invertebrates
Bugs
Statistics
Length: 1cm
Conservation status
Common.