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Family Overview
The Corixidae, or water boatmen, include about 130 species in 20 genera in North America, making it the most species-diverse family of freshwater Hemiptera. They are very efficient swimmers, moving quickly near the bottom of weedy, quieter water habitats (ponds and slowly flowing streams). They feed mostly on the sap of freshwater plants, but occasionally prey on small macroinvertebrates or even eat small particles of detritus. Eggs are laid on solid objects under water. The front tarsi of males are usually equipped with tiny pegs that can be rubbed across the triangular, grooved rostrum to make sound under water. Both males and females are often attracted to lights at night.
Characteristics
POLLUTION TOLERANCE
Mid-Atlantic: 5 - 9
Southeast: up to 9
0 = least tolerant, 10 = most tolerant
FEEDING HABITS
Engulfer / Predator
Piercer / Herbivore
Piercer / Predator
Scraper / Grazer
MOVEMENT
Swimmer
Diagnostic Characters
+ Expanded Character List
Order: Adults: With or without wings. If wings present, forewings typically leathery or hard basally and translucent and flexible apically. Nymphs: With or without wing pads. Segmented legs present. Mandibles hidden within needle-like beak in adults and nymphs.
Family: Generally smaller bugs, nearly parallel-sided in dorsal view, slightly convex dorsally. Rostrum (beak) uniquely triangular (not extended as slender needle). Antennae shorter than head and hidden in dorsal view.