Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Water Spiders

My life in appalachia water spiders

Water spiders…the only kind of spider I wasn’t afraid of as a child. I used to think water spiders had tiny skates or floats on their feet that allowed them to scoot across the water.

I call them water spiders – some people call them water skimmers. What do you call them?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Sheryl Paul’s comment reminded me of
    when my brother and I was little. We
    found out that if you hovered over the
    doodle bug’s tapered hole and sung:
    “Doodle bug, Doodle bug come outa your
    hole” a few times, that little booger
    would start moving and coming out to
    see you…Ken

  • Reply
    May 24, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    I don’t remember seeing them before moving down south, but they may have been there, and I just didn’t notice them.
    When I lived in Jax, FL, we called them “waterboatmen” cause their movement resembled one of those long boats with several rowers that are in rowing competitions.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I always called them water spiders too.
    Funny how nothing seems to eat them,
    even fish…Ken

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    skimmers here, I tried to stay away from them too, all bugs actually. Except the doodle bugs, we kids loved to catch them then let them go to make that little swirl in the sand.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    May 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Another vote for water strider.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    May 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Always called them water spiders. I always thought these spiders were very interesting. They could sure move out across the water.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I don’t think we had a name for them. When I saw the title, I immediately thought of my baby brother. We grew up with an outhouse & he called the spiders in there “toilet spiders”. Thank God for indoor plumbing although we went on a trip last weekend & there was a spider in the toilet bowl.

  • Reply
    Ned Arach
    May 24, 2014 at 10:06 am

    What kind of spider is Itsy Bitsy? You know! The one that what plays in the water spout. I think Itsy might have a tiny surf board instead of feet floats though.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

    I’ve always called and heard them called water striders, not spiders.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I have to admit that any kind of spider does not make my life happy. We called them skimmers, but I always went out of my way to not be near them. It really wasn’t fear, it was just my creepy feeling I get when around spiders.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    May 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

    I always called the water spiders too, but I was just as afraid of them as I was regular spiders. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 24, 2014 at 7:51 am

    We’ve always called them water spiders. Wikipedia has a nice article on the “Gerridae”, especially it’s diet.
    Didn’t know they were so aggressive,, to other insects that is..

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 24, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Grandaddy longlegs was the spider that I wasn’t afraid of..
    Wish I was at the lake right now, sittin’ on the bank, my fishin’ pole laying in a fork stick jobbed in the ground, with the floated movin’ around when the mirrow on the hook moves, the ripple it stirs and scares the water spider as it skates over and away from the float. Aren’ they just amazing spiders…
    Everyone do this; take you fingers and put the tips to your fingers on the other hand, stretch them out, now bring them back in sort of pinch, do it again several times…Now then, what is that? Well now, that’s a five legged granddaddy spider doing push-ups on a mirrow…
    Thanks Tipper,
    Heard the rain crow last evening, no rain so far!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 24, 2014 at 7:42 am

    I just called them water spiders and tried to stay away from them. I wasn’t afraid of them I just didn’t care to interact with them. That’s pretty much the way I feel about all spiders. I don’t bother them if they don’t bother me, except in the house. If they are in my house I tend to kill them so that I don’t have to clean up after them. Their webs can be sticky.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2014 at 7:25 am

    I thought that was a water strider or water skimmer, an insect rather than an 8-legged spider. I’ve also heard of them being called Jesus bugs.
    If you’re an ornery little kid, you’d put a little dish soap in a pan to break the surface tension on the water and then watch what happens when you put a strider in it . . . .

  • Reply
    Jeanette Minix
    May 24, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Barney says that they were called water striders in his part of the country. You mean they don’t have tiny floats or skates on their feet?

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