It’s hard to miss pond skaters on your pond – and practically every pond will have them at some point.
Pond skaters all look very similar to each other but there are actually 10 different species found on ponds and lakes in Britain – and they venture out onto rivers too.
Pond skaters are predatory bugs that mainly go around picking off the dead and unfortunate animals that fall onto the water surface and are trapped there.
The common garden species are all good fliers which can easily move from pond to pond. But they can’t all fly, and when they find a nice spot some of their young will often be a type that doesn’t have wings.
As winter approaches pond skaters will also produce young that can fly, and they so can move to a winter hibernation spot that’s safe.
There are two other groups of animals that like pond skaters you might see on the water surface. These are the common water striders (Hydrometra stagnorum – Hi-dro-mee-tra stag-nor-um) and one of the two species of Water Crickets (Velia species – vee-lee-aa). Neither skates like a skater: water measures trot about with a high stepping grace like a miniature prancing pony; water crickets scuttle across the water, their little legs going for all they are worth. The truly eagle-eyed might also spot pigmy water crickets.