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Water strider (Microvelia)

Taxonomic group

Veliidae: Microvelia

Diagnostic features

Microvelia is a small bug (less than 3mm long) commonly known as the “water skater” as it appears to skate over the surface of the water. It belongs to a group of bugs that have antennae much longer than their head. They are similar to the mesoveliid bugs, but the legs of veliids are much shorter. They may or may not have wings.

Typical habitats

Microvelia are found in highest abundance on the water surface of ponds, wetlands, or the margins of slow flowing streams and rivers.


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

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 5
  • Soft bottom: 4.6

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

Microvelia are common on the surface of stagnant or near stagnant waters of varying water quality. They have mid-range tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 4.6 (soft bottom sites).