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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 ?
Like its name says, the backswimmer swims on its back.
Fluctuations of the backswimmer population, age structure, and spatial distribution were evaluated to detect periods and zones of the lake where predation upon microcrustaceans would be potentially more intense.
in the backswimmer's rest holds my face across the waves.
Physical gill efficiency and winter dormancy in the pigmy backswimmer, Neoplea striola (Hemiptera: Pleidae).
Size-limited predation on larval Rana areolata (Anuran: Ranidae) by two species of backswimmer (Insecta: Hemiptera: Notonectidae).
Influence of the predatory backswimmer Notonecta maculata, on invertebrate community structure.
When the arriving female mosquitoes detect a chemical emitted by the backswimmer, they are less likely to lay eggs in that pool.
To hover underwater, a backswimmer breathes in a bubble of oxygen.
Backswimmer - These boat-shaped organisms are easily distinguished by the fact that they swim on their back, using their hind legs like oars to propel them through the water.
Similarity of static allometry in several instars also has been found for other water striders (Klingertberg and Zimmermann 1992a) and for a backswimmer (Cuzin-Roudy 1975).
PREDICT: The backswimmer is an insect that can suspend itself upside down beneath the water's surface.
Curvatures of growth trajectories in the space defined by log-transformed measurements were found in earlier multivariate studies of growth in other gerrids (Klingenberg and Zimmermann 1992b) and in a backswimmer (Cuzin-Roudy and Laval 1975).