Common Pond Skater

Common Pond Skater ©Chris Lawrence

Common Pond Skater

Scientific name: Gerris lacustris
The Common Pond Skater can be seen 'skating' over the surface of ponds, lakes, ditches and slow-moving rivers. It is predatory, feeding on small insects by detecting vibrations in the water's surface.

Species information

Statistics

Length: up to 1.5cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April to November

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 in 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, long-legged Common Pond Skater is only likely to be confused with the smaller, thinner, more fragile-looking Common Water-measurer, or the smaller, chunkier, shorter-legged Water Cricket.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Common Pond Skaters have water-repellent hairs on the bottom of their feet, enabling them to walk on the surface film of the water. They hunt by detecting vibrations in this film.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden wildlife by providing food, water and shelter. 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. To encourage invertebrates, amphibians and other wetland wildlife into your garden, try having a wildlife-friendly pond and leaving piles of logs for hibernating animals. To buy bird and animal food, feeders and homes, visit the Vine House Farm website - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.