Halobates - Oceanic Insects
Taxonomy and Identification
Ó Copyright, N. M. Andersen & Zoological Museum, University of
Fragment of one of the
colour-plates from F. Buchanan White's Chellenger Report (1883) with
illustrations of all known species of Halobates including structural
The genus Halobates was described In
1822 by the Estonian naturalist Johann Friedrich Eschscholtz togther with the
species Halobates micans, sericeus and flaviventris.
Eschscholtz served as a physician and naturalist on the Russian ship
"Rurik" which sailed around the world during the years 1815 to 1818.
In 1883, F. Buchanan White's classic Challenger Report on the "pelagic Hemiptera" appeared. He redescribed the known species of Halobates, added six new species, H. germanus, hayanus, princeps, proavus, and sobrinus, and illustrated all 11 species in color, with numerous drawings in black and white of structural details.
By far the most complete taxonomic treatment
of Halobates is the revision by Herring (1961), who examined all
available types of species described prior to 1960, synonymized many names,
described and illustrated 14 new species and offered a key to all species.
Since Herring's 1961-monograph, the following author's have added new species of Halobates: Herring (1964), Miyamoto (1967), Linnavuori (1971), Schmidt & Müller (1973), J. Polhemus (1982), J. Polhemus & Cheng (1982), Malipatil (1988), J. Polhemus & D. Polhemus (1991), Andersen & Foster (1992), Andersen & Weir (1994b, 2002). However, some of the new taxa have since been synonymized with previously described species. Here, we provide a Checklist and Distribution updating the taxonomy of Halobates and allied genera.
Herring (1961) presented the most
comprehensive key for the identification of Halobates species. Regional
keys are available for the Indian Ocean (Andersen & Foster, 1992) and
Australia (Andersen & Weir, 1994b).
We here provide an illustrated key which should enable
(2) to identify the most common and widespread species of Halobates, including those living on the open ocean surface.
Andersen NM, Foster
WA. 1992. Sea skaters of India, Sri Lanka, and the
Maldives, with a new species and a revised key to Indian Ocean species of Halobates
and Asclepios (Hemiptera, Gerridae). J.
Nat. Hist. 26: 533-553.
Andersen NM, Weir TA. 1994a. Austrobates
rivularis, gen. et sp. nov., a freshwater relative of Halobates (Hemiptera:
Gerridae), with a new perspective on the evolution of sea skaters. Invertebrate
Taxonomy 8: 1-15.
Andersen NM, Weir TA. 1994b. The sea
skaters, genus Halobates Eschscholtz (Hemiptera: Gerridae), of Australia:
taxonomy, phylogeny and zoogeography. Invertebrate Taxonomy 8: 861-909.
Andersen NM, Weir TA. 2002. A new species
of sea skaters, Halobates
Eschscholtz, from Robinson River, Western Australia (Hemiptera-Heteroptera:
Gerridae). Aquatic Insects (in press).
Eschscholtz JF. 1822. Entomographien, vol.
1 (1ste lieferung). Berlin. 128 pp.
Herring JL. 1961. The genus Halobates
(Hemiptera: Gerridae). Pacific Insects 3(2-3): 223-305.
Herring JL. 1964. A new species of Halobates
from the Bay of Bengal. Proc. Ent. Soc. Wash. 66: 85-86.
Linnavuori R. 1971. Hemiptera of the Sudan,
with remarks on some species of adjacent countries. I. The aquatic and
semiaquatic families. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 8: 340-366.
Malipatil MB. 1988. Two new species of Halobates
Eschscholtz (Hemiptera: Gerridae) from Australia. J. Austr. Ent. Soc. 27:
Miyamoto S. 1967. Gerridae of Thailand and
North Borneo taken by the Joint Thai-Japanese Biological Expedition 1961-62.
Nature and Life in Southeast Asia 5: 217-257.
Polhemus JT. 1982. Marine Hemiptera of the
Northern Territory, including the first fresh-water species of Halobates
Eschscholtz (Gerridae, Veliidae, Hermatobatidae and Corixidae). J. Austr. Ent.
Soc. 21: 5-11.
Polhemus JT, Cheng L. 1982. Notes on marine
water-striders with descriptions of new species. Part I. Gerridae (Hemiptera).
Pacific Insects 24: 219-227.
Polhemus JT, Polhemus
DA. 1991. Three new species of marine water-striders
from the Australasian region, with notes on other species (Gerridae:
Halobatinae, Trepobatinae). Raffles Bull. Zool. 39: 1-13.
Schmidt HE, Müller R. 1973. Marine water
striders of the genus Halobates (Hemiptera: Gerridae) from the Red Sea
and Gulf of Aqaba. Israel Journal of Zoology 22: 1-12.
White FB. 1883. Report on the pelagic Hemiptera. Voyage of Challenger, Reports, Zoology 7: 1-82.
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Last update: 04 september 2002