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Gerromorpha authority files added to the plant bugs database

posted Apr 24, 2012, 2:19 PM by Chantal-Marie Wright
The valid names of six families of the Gerromorpha are now available in the plant bug database authority file.  The names were extracted from Catalog of the Heteroptera, or True Bugs, of Canada and the Continental United States, Henry, Thomas J., and Richard C. Froeschner, eds.

Gerridae:  Over 1,700 species of gerrids have been discovered; more than 50 of them can be found in North America.  The nickname 'water striders' comes from their ability to transfer weight and walk on water.  They find food by sensing ripples on the water and capturing insects that have fallen in.

Gerris remigis Say, 1832
© Donald S. Chandler

Hebridae:  Velvet water bugs (not to be confused with the velvety water bugs) have a covering of tiny, water-repelling hairs.   Cannabalism has been reported among these semi-aquatic predators.

Merragata brunnea Drake, 1917
© Donald S. Chandler

Hydrometridae:  These long thin bugs are predators and scavengers who walk slowly through the vegetation at the edges of ponds and streams (hence the name 'marsh treaders.')  Most of the Hydrometridae are wingless.

Hydrometra martini Kirkaldy, 1900
© Donald S. Chandler

Macroveliidae:  These water bugs were separated from the Vellidae due to differences in the tarsal claw structure.  A small family with only two genera, macrovelids live along moving water and feed on other insects.

Oravelia pege Drake and Chapman, 1963
© American Museum of Natural History

Mesoveliidae:  Mesovelids are at home in a variety of habitats, from from lakes to forest floors.  They feed on tiny prey such as mosquito larvae and microcrustaceans, and are also known as water treaders

Mesovelia mulsanti White, 1879
© Donald S. Chandler

Vellidae:  There are several common names for the Vellidae, including rifle bugs, water crickets and shouldered water striders.  They are predatory bugs that live in a variety of water environments, from open water to mudflats; a few live in salt water along coasts.

Rhagovelia obesa Uhler, 1871
© Donald S. Chandler