Water strider leg, SEM

Water strider leg, SEM

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Credit: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Water strider leg tibia setae (Gerris gibiffer). The freshwater water strider (Gerris gibiffer) is a predatory insect that has a dense layer of fine hairs (microsetae; shown here) with fine nanogrooves on its legs. The microsetae physical structure and arrangement make the legs strongly hydrophobic providing the water strider with the ability to stand on the water using the waters surface tension. The water strider has six legs; the two shortened forelegs that are used for catching prey, the middle legs are laid flat on the water and used to row the insect along, while the hind legs offer support and steering. The water strider feeds on insects which fall onto water. Water striders are predators and scavengers of aquatic invertebrates and feed by extension of sucking mouthparts on various insect prey. Magnification: x400 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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