home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Corixidae (water boatmen)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Phylum: Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Paraneoptera > Condylognatha > Hemiptera (bugs) > Heteroptera > Nepomorpha > Corixoidea

Water boatman on stone at the bottom of a pool.

Water boatmen are aquatic bugs that have the hindlegs adapted as paddles for swimming. They are flattened and swim the right side up whereas the similar looking backswimmers (Notonectidae) are deep-bodied, have a keel-shaped back, and swim on their backs. Water boatmen are mainly predaceous on small insect larvae but some species can also feed on algae and on minute organisms such as rotifers and diatoms. They have wings and can leap out of the water and take flight.


  • Calabrese, D.M. 1985. Hydrocorisae and Amphibiocorisae. In: Insects of Southern Africa (Eds C.H. Scholtz & E. Holm). Butterworths, Durban, pp. 148-152.

  • Skaife, S.H. 1979. African Insect Life. Struik, Cape Town, page 103.