Water Boatmen

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday 14 September 2010 20:05

Surrey again I'm afraid. I have been on Frensham Great Pond all day in a boat carrying out an aquatic macrophyte survey. Whilst doing that I found this little water boatman and decided to have a go at keying it out using 'Adults of The British Aquatic Hemiptera: Heteroptera - A Key with Ecological Notes'. An hour later looking down the microscope and I am fairly confident it is Sigara distincta, a fairly common and widespread species. Phew, I forgot how long this key goes on for! I did some of this with the RSPB at Old Hall Marshes but have forgotten it all. Anyway, the water boatmen are not easy, especially if your specimen is a female (this one is a male - males have strange asymmetrical abdominal segments, not sure why, probably some perverse sexual thing!). According to the above book there are 35 species in the family Corixidae. Another good thing about aquatic bugs is they can be found as adults in the winter months (more non-seasonal natural history for me!). However, I think the best thing about this beast is its tiger stripes, which are almost invisible to the naked eye (it's only 8 mm long) but really striking under the microscope.

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