On the Watch for Water Bugs

Juliette Butler explains how you can learn how to identify water bugs in your garden pond, or local waterways

With only 69 species in the UK, water bugs are a fascinating group to start identifying. They can easily be found in ponds, rivers, lakes and streams, and consist of those that live in the water (water boatman, saucer bugs) and those that live on the surface (pond skaters).

Commonly encountered groups include water boatman, who have fringed hind legs, which act like oars to propel them through the water, and pond skaters whose long slender legs allow them to literally walk across the surface.

An amazing fact is that some water bugs have a stink gland, which exudes a fluid to deter predators!

From the 8th to the 21st June on our Monitoring and Research Facebook group page we will be posting about water bugs, and encouraging you to do the same. Look out for water bugs in your garden pond or on your local walks and see what you can spot!

Kevin Rowley, the Northamptonshire County Recorder for water bugs, has put together a useful guide identifying the most common species you may come across. 

Please use the hashtag #wildlifefromhome and post your photographs. We will help you identify and record these fascinating aquatic invertebrates.  Why not make this part of your 30 Days Wild – and let us know what other wildlife activities you have been doing this June. 
Please think about your safety and others from your household around waterbodies. Ensure that hands and equipment are cleaned thoroughly after each visit.

Links to how to record your sightings