Water Bugs (Heteroptera)
Whether considered an order or a suborder of Hemiptera, this primarily terrestrial group contains about 300 North American species that live in or on the water. Well-known representatives include water boatman and water striders. Aquatic Heteroptera obtain oxygen primarily from the air, not the water, and are not useful as indicators of water quality compared to groups like mayflies or stoneflies. They occur in a variety of habitats, though most prefer standing waters. Most are predators, feeding on small invertebrates, though some of the larger species prey on small fish and tadpoles. The name Heteroptera refers to the different (hetero) structure of the fore wing (ptera), which has a leathery upper (nearest the body) part and a membranous outer portion.