Large pond skaters mating

Large pond skaters mating

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Credit: DR KEITH WHEELER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Large pond skaters mating on the surface of a pond containing Canadian pondweed (Elodea canadensis). The male is at top and the female is at bottom. The adults pair in spring and copulation takes place during the day. They separate at night and the female lays the eggs beneath the water on aquatic plants or flat stones. There are five larval stages, which occur from June to September when the nymphs become adults. Pond skaters rely on surface tension to be able to move across a water surface. They are predators that have mouthparts in the form of hollow tubes called the rostrum or beak, which are used to suck the blood and body fluids from their prey.

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