from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of various aquatic bugs of the family Notonectidae that swim on their backs by means of broadened, oarlike hind legs.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of various aquatic insects, of the family Notonectidae, that swim on their backs.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. any of numerous predaceous aquatic insects of the family Notonectidae (such as Notonecta undulata) that swim on their backs and may inflict painful bites; -- also called boat bug.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Same as boat-fly.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. predaceous aquatic insect that swims on its back and may inflict painful bites
Scientists have found that an aquatic insect known as a backswimmer, which is similar a water boatman, releases a "scent" that scares off mosquitoes - although it cannot be picked up by the human nose.
Previous research from Blaustein's lab demonstrated that the mosquito, Culiseta longiareolata, chemically detects a voracious predator of its progeny in the water, the backswimmer, Notonecta maculata, and avoids laying eggs where the predator is detected.
While many say that water boatmen do not bite and are often confused with the backswimmer, I am sure that the insects in the pool were water boatmen, so I would urge some care in handling them if you come across them and want to take a closer look.