|Pygmy backswimmer with a ballpoint pen - REK|
I sent these pictures with apologies to Dr. David Bowles at Missouri State University who responded patiently "That is a pygmy backswimmer (Heteroptera, Pleidae, Neoplea striola). They are by no means rare, but often overlooked due to their small size. Nice find." * Kind words for a blurry picture. According to Dr. Andy Hamilton at bugguide.net, Neoplea striola is the only common member of the family Pleidae (pygmy backswimmers) in eastern North America.
|Hanging just below the surface, watching its reflection - Lonny|
I had to go four levels in Google to find any more information about this insect that lacks a good press agent. Nationalgeographic.com describes its underwater hibernation in New England lakes, awakening only when the water temperature reaches 54 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring. They have fine hairs which carry air when they dive, allowing them to reach deeper depths before the bubble collapses. The bad news is the denser the hair, the less surface area the insect has to absorb the air.
|Dorsal view - Lonny|
* This blog depends regularly on the patience of expert friends reviewing blurry photographs. Thanks to all of them for humoring us.