Pond skater Gerris lacustris

Found on ponds, marshes, streams and slow-moving waters, the pond skater is a small, thin black-brown insect. They have small heads and relatively large eyes. Pond skaters use their long thin legs to propel their body across the water. The middle legs are used to propel the insect’s body forward and the back legs are used for steering. The pond skaters’ sharp mouth parts and their smallest set of limbs are used to prey on small insects found on the surface of waters.


The pond skater gets its name from their method of hunting smaller insects by gliding on the surface of the water. Over winter they hibernate on land, emerging the next spring to either return to the same pond or to colonise a new waterway.


Length: 10 – 15 mm




Throughout UK in ponds, marshes, streams and slow-moving waters.

When to see

April – October


  • The tiny hairs on the pond skater’s body and legs are used to sense the ripples made by their prey in the water.
  • Pond skaters also have the ability to fly, although they are more likely to jump to avoid predators.

Common name

Pond skater

Species name

Gerris lacustris

IUCN Red List status


When to see in Scotland

April – October

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Bankhead Moss or Knowetop Lochs.

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