Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Water treader ( Mesoveliidae : Mesovelia )

Diagnostic features

Mesoveliids are among a group of bugs that have antennae much longer than their head. They are small (less than 3mm long) and similar to the Veliid bugs, but the legs of mesoveliids are much longer. They may or may not have wings.

Typical habitats

Mesovelia are most likely to be found amongst the marginal vegetation of ponds, wetlands, or slow flowing streams and rivers. They are rarely found in abundance, unlike Microvelia which are often found in high abundance.


They are predators, feeding on aquatic and non-aquatic invertebrates trapped on the water surface.

Indicator value

Mesoveliids are only likely to be found amongst marginal vegetation above the water surface, and they may have limited value as water quality indicators. They have not been assigned any tolerance values.