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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Marine Skater Halobates sericeus

This is a member of the only truly marine genus of insects. The marine skater spends its entire life on the surface of tropical and subtropical oceans where winter temperatures rarely fall below 68°F (20°C). Little is known about these insects due to the difficulty in studying them. Females are larger than males and after mating they lay 10–20 cream-colored, oval eggs on a piece of flotsam, such as a piece of floating wood. The eggs hatch into nymphs that molt through five stages before becoming adults.

Because this insect never dives below the surface, its diet is restricted to small organisms such as floating fish eggs, zooplankton, and dead jellyfish. It feeds by releasing enzymes onto the surface of its food and then drawing in the predigested material through its modified mouthparts.

Marine Skater habitat mapzoom image
  • Subphylum Insecta
  • Length Females
  • Habitat Ocean surface
  • Distribution Pacific Ocean between 40° and 5° north and south of the equator