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Any of various predatory hemipteran insects of the family Notonectidae that live in freshwater habitats and swim on their backs by means of oarlike hind legs.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Animals) an aquatic bug belonging to the family Notonectidae that swims on its back using its back legs as oars
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈbækˌswɪm ər)

any of various predatory aquatic bugs, of the family Notonectidae, that swim on their backs.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.backswimmer - predaceous aquatic insect that swims on its back and may inflict painful bitesbackswimmer - predaceous aquatic insect that swims on its back and may inflict painful bites
hemipteran, hemipteron, hemipterous insect, bug - insects with sucking mouthparts and forewings thickened and leathery at the base; usually show incomplete metamorphosis
genus Notonecta, Notonecta - type genus of the Notonectidae: backswimmers
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The aquatic insects known as backswimmers (Heteroptera: Notonectidae) are invertebrate predators that can play a major role in shaping the structure and the abundance of Zooplankton population in several freshwater environments (Nesbitt et al., 1996; Blaustein, 1998; Hampton et al., 2000).
Leg segment proportions, predatory strategy and growth in backswimmers (Hemiptera: Pleidae, Notonectidae).
Details: POND LIFE FROM 11am-12.30pm every Thursday in August, an event called Boatmen And Backswimmers is a chance to join the Edgbaston Reservoir rangers to find out more about the various land and pond creatures on the site.
There are photo-packed chapters on wood lice, slugs and snails, aphids, caterpillars, worms, earwigs, ladybugs, spiders, crickets & katydids, pseudoscorpions, mosquito larvae, dragonfly larvae, and backswimmers. Kids will learn how to build an ant farm, spider house, bee box, wormery, and other habitats for bugs.
MONDAY nHunt out boatmen and backswimmers at Plantsbrook Local Nature Reserve, off Eachelhurst Road, Erdington.
Water boatmen often are confused with backswimmers, a family of similar-looking but larger aquatic bugs.
Backswimmers are the scuba divers of the insect world.
1992; Ravenscroft 1994; Moilanen & Hanski 1998; Bergman 1999) and backswimmers of the genus Notonecta (Briers & Warren 2000).
In the order Hemiptera there are a large number of other species of water bugs that are commonly found in ponds, these range from herbivores like water boatmen (named for their oar-like rear swimming legs) to small predators such as backswimmers (they swim on their backs).
Wetlands are also home to a host of species that feed on mosquitoes, including beetles, backswimmers, water striders, dragonfly larvae, frogs, fish and a number of mosquito-eating birds.
The book covers mayflies, caddisfiles, stoneflies, midges, craneflies, aquatic worms, damselflies, dragonflies, backswimmers, water boatmen, water beetles, terrest rials, baitfish and leeches, and crustaceans.