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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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