Usually when we think of striders, we picture insects skimming across the surface of still, open water. However, members of the genus Rhagovelia are different; they are sometimes nicknamed “Riffle Bugs” as they tend to show habitat preference towards surface water of stream riffles, or just downstream of them. There are about 10 species in North America. Members of this genus, like the rest of their family, are piercing predators and sometimes scavengers. They wait at the surface, feeding on dead or living small invertebrates that float or swim by.
Mid-Atlantic: up to 6
Piercer / Predator
Widespread (east of the Rocky Mtns.)
+ Expanded Character List
Order: Adults: With or without wings. If wings present, forewings typically leathery or hard basally and translucent and flexible apically. Nymphs: With or without wing pads. Segmented legs present. Mandibles hidden within needle-like beak in adults and nymphs.
Family: Head with visible gula (suborder Heteroptera). Antennae longer than head, positioned anterior to eyes, clearly visible from dorsal side. Dorsum of head typically with median longitudinal sulcus or smooth stripe. At least front tarsi with ante-apical claws (claws protruding from leg before apex). Mesothoracic legs about equidistant between front and hind legs, if NOT, then middle tarsi with feather-like or blade-like structures. Hind femora short (shorter than abdomen, or just barely longer). Laterally, metasternum with pair of scent grooves anterior to hind coxae.
Genus: Mesothoracic tarsi deeply cleft, with flattened leaf-like claws, and plumose swimming hairs fanning from base of cleft. Hind tarsi each 2- or 3-segmented.