Print This Page

 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Hemiptera (bugs) | Corixidae


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Corixidae

Descriptive Features:

  • body usually elongate, subparallel, and compressed
  • head broad, short, triangular, and overlaps the anterior margin of the pronotum
  • eyes large
  • ocelli usually absent
  • rostrum triangular, unsegmented, and broadly fused to head
  • antennae are shorter than head
  • pronotum large and often covers scutellum
  • fore tarsi short, unsegmented, scoop-like and usually have a single claw with a row of long hairs
  • midlegs long and slender, with tarsi usually 1-segmented, pretarsi with 2 elongate claws
  • hindlegs modified for swimming, flattened and fringed with long hairs, tarsi 2-segmented
  • abdomen concave dorsally, forming an air-reservoir between the wings
  • Total length: 0.8 - 10.0 mm
    • Taxonomic Checklist: Genera
      (formerly Cymatia)

      Distribution: Australia wide

      Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 2. Micronecta robusta and Agraptocorixa hirtifrons have been found in nutrient enriched wetlands.  

      Functional Feeding Group: predators, macrophyte piercers

      Ecology: Instream habitat: Commonly known as ‘water boatmen’, corixid bugs are found in a wide range of habitats. Often they are the most common insects in ponds and at the edges of lakes and slow flowing streams, amongst aquatic vegetation including willow roots.
      Feeding ecology:Corixid bugs are predators or macrophyte piercers feeding on either insects, such as mosquito larvae, or aquatic vegetation depending upon the species of bug.
      Habit: The modified tarsi of the forelegs are used for feeding. The midlegs are usually used for grooming or hanging on to submerged objects and the hind legs are used for swimming. Corixid adults are excellent fliers and can easily move from one water body to another. They are often one of the first colonisers of newly formed ponds. The air reservoir of these bugs consists of a bubble of air over the exposed abdominal surface and beneath the wings. The air is replenished through spaces between the head and pronotum by the bugs breaking the surface film with the pronotum.
      Life history: Females attach their eggs to submerged objects including the carapaces of crayfish. Juveniles look similar to the adults but are without wings. Nymphs moult five times before becoming mature adults. Males of Sigara produce chirping sounds, or stridulations, to attract females. They do this by rubbing their front femora, equipped with special pegs, against the sharp edge of their head. Some Micronecta species stridulate with their abdominal segments.
      Information Sources: Tinerella 2013, Andersen & Weir 2004, Cassis & Gross 1995, Lansbury & Lake 2002, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002, Ingram et al 1997, Davis & Christidis 1997
       More ›››  key to genera