Plea minutissima with Waterflea 25-09-2006
Plea minutissima
Pygmy backswimmer

This Pygmy backswimmer caught a Water flea and is now resting with the tip of the abdomen touching the water surface. The prey is stabbed with the pointed beak, injected with protein dissolving saliva and sucked out. The front and middle legs of the Pygmy backswimmer are raptorial legs, just like those of the larger Water boatman. Mark the silvery hairs on the belly. Because Plea species are small, they can hold an air bubble without the special folding hair fringes of the Water boatman, they only have a keel-shaped protrusion that enlarges the possible size of the bubble. Plea has the shape of a small boat. (Greek pleon: boat, sailor, Latin minutissima: small).

Click on the pictures below to see enlarged versions. The right one is a picture of a Plea larva, made by Jaap Cost Budde.

Pygmy backswimmer with airbubbles 27-09-2006 fill Pygmy backswimmer, larva (Photo: Jaap Cost Budde)

Plea minutissima
The same specimen. At left a Water flea.

The photo below is made from above the water surface. The Pygmy backswimmer ventilates its air supply along the tip the tip of the abdomen.

Pigmy backswimmer under side
enlarge Click to enlarge
Pigmy backswimmer on Hornwort
enlarge On Hornwort

Pigmy backswimmer on Duckweed 25-06-2001
enlarge On Duckweed

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All pictures on this site have been made by G.H. Visser (Aadorp, Holland), unless otherwise mentioned. All rights remain with him. These photo's may not be used for other then strictly private uses. In case you want to use them for purposes including third parties, you MUST request permission, by e-mailing the author. I encourage especially those wanting to use the pictures for nature-expositions or other educative targets.
© G.H. Visser 10-11-2008

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