Image: Backswimmer Illustration

Backswimmer Illustration

Backswimmers are insects. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - larva - adult.

Creator:
Andrew Howells
Rights:
© Australian Museum

Notes

Backswimmers are insects. They have three stages in their life cycle: egg - larva - adult.

Adult backswimmers have very big eyes, a curved back and long back legs. Their back legs have special hairs that help them swim. They range from 4 - 10 mm long.

Backswimmers live in ponds, lakes, billabongs and slow-running streams.

Adult and larval backswimmers eat smaller animals in the water including bloodworms and aquatic larvae. They also snatch invertebrates from the water's surface, drag them under and eat them.

Fish, turtles, water birds and lots of insects that live in the water like to eat backswimmers.

Adult backswimmers breathe by storing oxygen in a bubble on the underside of their abdomen. To get more air they come to the water's surface.

When backswimmers breed, males make sounds to attract females to mate with. The eggs are fertilised inside the female. After the eggs are fertilised the female lays the eggs in holes she drills in the stems of water plants.

Backswimmers get their name because they are great at backstroke. Using their legs they swim upside down at the surface of the water.

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