Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Bug: Ice Boatmen

April gathering of the Water Boatpeople

Bugs in the family Corixidae are called Water Boatmen and they are nice bugs, or at least won’t bite you as many water bugs are wont to do. Instead they row through the water collecting algae, small invertebrates, and fine organic material. In another sense, though, corixids are annoying: they are the most diverse water bug family in Alberta, but also the most difficult to identify to genus and species.
Sun + dark bodies = melt
 Most Water Boatmen (and Boatwomen) overwinter as adults and mate in the spring. Here in Alberta you can find clusters of them melting out of lake ice in late spring (these shots are from April). Their dark bodies warm and melt the ice around them, presumably giving them an advantage in finding the first mates. These bugs have been to BugGuide, but are still unidentified beyond family. A tough, but interesting group.

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