These bugs are called back swimmers, and they prefer to live in still water with emergent vegetation, but some inhabit slow-moving streams. Theyhaveathick, boat-shaped body and swim on their back, with the ventral surface contacting the water surface. Adults are usually found floating at the surface with the long oar-like legs outstretched. They can quickly submerge or leap into the air and fly. They are predators of insects and small animals. Eggs are attached to emergent plants or debris with a glutinous substance, or inserted in leaves or stem by a piercing ovipositor (some Notonecta spp.). Notonecta unifasciata and N. indica eggs are collected and used as food by people in towns near Mexico City. Large numbers of adults are collected and ground into flour for cooking.

Adult notonectids are often brightly colored with areas of the body blue, violet, red, orange, and white. They have sharp mouthparts and can inflict a painful bite if handled. These insects can be serious pests in fish hatcheries where they prey on small fish, and are occasionally found in swimming pools where they bite people. In some regions in Europe (Germany) they are known as waterbees.

Back swimmer, Notonecta undulata Adults are 10-13 mm long, and vary from brown to blackish brown. Eggs are elongate, about 1 mm long, and laid on the surface of aquatic plants. Developmentis through five instars; there are atleasttwo generations per year. Adults fly at night and large numbers can be found around lights. They are often found in swimming pools, sometimes a long distance from an aquatic habitat. This is a widely distributed species in North and South America.

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