Friday, 20 April 2012

R for Ripple Communication

This. Is. So. Amazing.


1) Gerridae is a family of insects commonly known as water striders. These insects live on the surface of the water and are capable of skimming or skating over its surface. They even do their midnight aerobics on the water.You can find water striders  in ponds, slow moving rivers, streams, or lakes with a small percentage being marine.

2) Water strider are light and use the high surface tension of water to glide along the surface. They are also covered with hydrophobic microhairs. These tiny hairs repel water, preventing drops from weighing down the body.

3) Water striders feed on small insects that drop in the water. The front legs of a water strider is designed to sense the vibrations produced by the ripples in the water of a struggling insect. 

4) Water striders also use water ripples to send signals as a form of communication. 

Signals are normally produced by vertical oscillations of the legs which remain on the water's surface. Sex discrimination is also communicated through ripple frequency. Males predominantly produce three main frequencies identified in ripple communication: 25 Hz is a repel signal. 10 Hz is a threat signal, and 3 Hz is a courtship signal.

Water striders are territorial, if a male enters the territory of another male they will be greeted with a repel signal. If the repel signal is not returned, then the male knows it is a female and will start sending out courtship signals. If the female is receptive, she will allow the male to mount her. If she is not receptive she will emit a ripple signal.



  1. Now that's a cool bug (but only because it likes the water so it's less likely to want to touch me, LOL)

  2. Whoa! I love the idea of communicating via water ripples. That sounds so intriguing!

  3. Very cool. How very odd, huh? I thought you did a great job at explaining. :)

  4. I would hate to be a small insect struggling for life in the water when one of these guys showed up.

  5. I used to call them 'skaters' when I was little and would go pond dipping. I had no idea they had some an advanced communication system.

  6. Amanda: Try water ripples. (:

    Cristina: You wouldn't happen to be afraid of bugs, would you? (;

    Jack; They do all kinds of crazy and interesting stuff!

    Mina: Thanks! (:

    Jessica: Yeah, they are not too creepy. =)

    Michael: Especially when you realize they are going to stab you with their piercing-sucking mouth parts, inject you with a fluid that digests your internal organs, and then suck you dry. :)

    Claire: Hello, thanks for stopping by! I've heard them called skaters too. Some people even call them Jesus bugs.

  7. I like those little things, we get water boatmen on the pond at my parents' house. Never knew all this about them!

  8. My eleven year old daughter would love this post, as did I. We are totally into those kind of fun, nature facts:)

  9. Nick: They are amazing!

    Honey: My kids too! It's fun going out with them in the summer and pointing these out.

  10. Wow! talk about the art of hydro-communication... and jet-skiers think that they're so cool - if they only knew... LOL!

    1. Haha! They could learn a thing or two from these guys. :D


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