Have you seen the dance,
quickly back and forth, over pools of quiet water on a sunny afternoon—
of strangely patterned shadows skipping onto rocks below,
slender dancers resting at the surface?
Water striders, insects in the family Gerridae, float and skate on top of still and slow-moving water, their feet wrapped in small cushions of air, trapped between tiny hairs (microsetae) covering their 6 legs. The second and third pairs, almost twice as long as the insect itself, row and steer, never breaking the surface, while the smaller first pair grabs and holds prey to be pierced and sucked dry for dinner.
The patterned shadows, dark circles rimmed in gold, of a mating pair, or the feet of just one--
suspended upon this illuminated stage.
(click photos to enlarge)
"Have you seen...." is an effort to discover the unusual beauty in things not usually appreciated for their beauty. Like bugs.
More information about the Water Strider's unique floating and skating ability can be found here.