Skaters of ponds: threaten; repel; or mate.

Pond skaters are such common bugs. There must be millions of them. I’m leaning over the fence trying to focus on one when I have the weird realisation that they only have four legs on the water. Insects are meant to have six legs, what’s going on? Then my childhood memories come flooding back to me. They have front legs which have claws for catching and eating, middle legs which are oars for paddling and hind legs which are rudders for steering. That’s probably quite a good division of labour.

The Italian for Pond Skaters is pattinatori di stagno, or Skaters of the Pond. Classic.

Forty years ago I fished one out (or should that be ‘pond-skatered’ one out?) of a pond at Holden Clough in Lancashire and drew it. Today I’m aiming my digital camera at one. It’s probably Gerris lacustris; Gerris means ‘type’ and lacustris means ‘lake’.

Pond Skater - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I remember reading all about their language of vibration which includes different vibrational frequencies for their three options of: threaten; repel; or mate. It’s very similar in my local Cider Bar in Devon, or, as they would say in Italy, the Bar of the Cider.

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