Species Focus

Nationally scarce pond skater

(Aquarium paludum)

Ecologist working on beetle bank

Pond skaters are a focus species for the lake and runway grassland area at Waterbeach.

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Discover: Pond skater

Pond skaters are brown and grey with big bug eyes and long legs. They occur in colonies on the surface of large, open waterbodies such as lakes and reservoirs. Adults hibernate through winter months and mate in the spring. Eggs are laid beneath the water. All stages of the life cycle are carnivorous, feeding largely on other invertebrates such as flies that have become trapped on the water surface.

  • Nationally scarce. Distributed across Britain but largely in the South East of England. Approximately 260 records. Many of the records in Cambridgeshire are old, so their presence at Waterbeach is significant and this may be the only current known site for this species in the county.
  • Measurements: 14-16mm

Pond skaters can walk on water! They use hairs on their feet to repel the water enabling them to skate across the surface.

Pond skater
Can you spot: Look out for these between April and November at the edge of ponds and lakes. A population was discovered at Waterbeach on the lake, along the southern shore lines and areas of water lilies in the north.
Did you know: They can hunt their prey by detecting vibrations of insects that have become strapped in the surface tension of the water.

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western bund Waterbeach

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Former golf course at Waterbeach
Former golf course habitat area
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