Sea Skater Halobates micans

Physical characteristics: The sea skater has a short, thick body, with a very short abdomen. They measure about 0.16 to 0.18 inches (4.0 to 4.6 millimeters) in length. The dull brown to black body is covered with a coat of small, silvery hairs. The head has a pair of yellow marks.

Geographic range: They are found between the latitudes 40° north and 40° south, with most species living on warm, tropical waters.

Habitat: Sea skaters live among mats of floating algae on the surface of the ocean.

Diet: Adults and larvae feed on tiny crustaceans, small fish, and floating jellyfish. Crustaceans have a soft segmented body covered by a hard shell.

Behavior and reproduction: Sea skaters move quickly on the ocean surface to find food and mates.

Males and females mate on the ocean surface. Eggs are laid in great numbers and are attached to any floating object, including feathers, seaweed, wood, or the bodies of cuttlefish. The larvae molt five times before reaching adulthood.

Sea skaters and people: Sea skaters do not affect people or their activities.

Conservation status: This species is not endangered or threatened. ■

Male and female sea skaters mate on the ocean surface. Eggs are laid in great numbers and are attached to any floating object, including feathers, seaweed, wood, or the bodies of cuttlefish. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)
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