This Is Why Water Striders Make Terrible Lifeguards | Deep Look

To us, water striders are almost magical. I mean, come on, they’re literally walking
on water. But come down to their level and it’s a
bit more… sinister. These delicate little bugs have figured out
how to master the elements – and to exploit those who can’t. So how do water striders float where others
sink? The answer is those crazy long legs. Water is pretty sticky stuff. It likes to hold onto itself. It sticks together especially well right at
the surface. If you’re small, it can actually hold you
up, as long as you don’t break through that surface tension. It seems like the water strider’s legs would
just sink right in. But they don’t. They make dimples on the surface. That’s because their legs are covered in
tiny hairs called micro-setae that repel water. The strider’s entire body is covered in
them. Those hairs trap a layer of air that keeps
the water from sticking to its body. The water strider simply can’t get wet. That’s how they can sit on top of the water
without breaking through. Plus they’re pretty light and they spread
out their weight with their front and back legs. They use their middle pair of legs to maneuver,
by pressing down and back against those dimples. Just like rowing a boat. They can even catch some air. Most of their fellow insects aren’t quite
as graceful. Like this caddisfly. Struggle as it may, it’s stuck.. half-drowned… Exactly what the water strider has been waiting
for. It probes for a weak spot And pierces through – spitting digestive enzymes
in that dissolve its victim from the inside. Then the striders take their time sucking
out the innards. Leaving the caddisfly a dried-out husk. The stream delivers an endless buffet of new
victims. Because for most, that razor-thin line between
water and air is a treacherous place. But water striders know: keep your feet dry and you’ll always have
the upper hand. Hey there, it’s Lauren. I know you see that subscribe button there. Here’s what it’ll get you – new Deep Look
episodes every two weeks. Keep up with all the weird, gross and wonderful
things we’re working on. Thanks and see you soon.

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