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


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

back +‎ swimmer


  • 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. news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

  • 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.

    RedOrbit News - Technology

  • 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.

    Sierra Sun - Top Stories


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