Caption: Water strider leg hairs / setae (Gerris gibbiffer). The freshwater water strider (Gerris gibbiffer) is a predatory insect that has a dense layer of fine hairs (microsetae; shown here) with fine nanogrooves on its legs. The microsetae physical structure and arrangement make the legs strongly hydrophobic providing the water strider with the ability to stand on the water using the waters surface tension. The water strider has six legs; the two shortened forelegs that are used for catching prey, the middle legs are laid flat on the water and used to row the insect along, while the hind legs offer support and steering. The water strider feeds on insects which fall onto water. Water striders are predators and scavengers of aquatic invertebrates and feed by extension of sucking mouthparts on various insect prey. They have piercing mouths that suck nutrients out of the bodies of their prey. Water striders live on the surfaces of ponds, slow streams and other quiet waters. They also can occur in saltwater environments.
Magnification*: x400
Type: SEM
Copyright 2010 Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
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