Definition of water boatman in English:

water boatman


  • 1A predatory aquatic bug that swims on its back using its long back legs as oars. It is able to capture large prey such as tadpoles and fish.

    Also called backswimmer
    • ‘The boat, full of four big heavy men, seemed not to touch the water but to rest on the surface film like a water boatman.’
  • 2An aquatic bug which spends much of its time on the bottom, using its front legs to sieve food from the water and its hair-fringed rear legs for swimming.

    • ‘A pond is a little world in itself, he says, home to a dizzying array of creatures from frogs and newts to water boatmen, diving beetles, dragonflies and damselfies.’
    • ‘Students in Mrs. Morse's class selected such study topics as salamanders, water moccasins, crayfish, frogs, water striders, water boatmen, ducks, the pond bottom, and algae/plankton.’
    • ‘This is not just about angling, but also about our river and lake environments that support a huge diversity of wildlife from water boatmen to kingfishers.’
    • ‘Water spiders skimmed, water boatmen rowed to the depths, newts basked in sunny shallows, small snails clung to leaves, ribbon-like larvae wriggled, tadpoles twitched and bloated leeches deterred paddling.’