of the (true) Water Boatman and the Lesser Water Boatman.


All over the world you will find names for Notonecta and Corixa which reflect the similarity at a first glance of the two species. Many names are in the boatman range which is logical if you think of the boat shape and the rowing movement of these insects. On this page is a table with names from different countries, mainly in Europe, which were found in books and on the world wide web. If known the English translation is given. Many times I found names (and pictures) where the two species where mixed up... Yet there are more distinguishing names likewater bee which reflects the painful nip of the backswimmer, and water cricket from the chirping of Corixa males.

Seeing the variety of this list you may understand how important the international scientific names are, if you write: Corixa punctata a biological scientist will know what you mean, writing: duikerwants, he may not know... Some people think these Greek/Latin names are difficult and just for egg-heads, but they are not: Notonecta is from the Greek Noton = back en Necta = swimming, could it be simpler?

On the pages on names and classification there is more on this matter.

Names of the true and lesser boatman in several countries
Land backswimmer
Backswimmer (Notonecta)
Lesser water boatman (Corixa)
Name English transl. Name English transl.
England (Water) boatman - Lesser Water boatman -
True Boatman - Boatsman (!) -
Backswimmer - Water cricket -
Netherlands Ruggezwemmer Backswimmer Duikerwants Diver bug
Germany Rückenschwimmer Backswimmer Ruderwanze Rowing bug
Wasserbiene Water bee Wasserzikade Water cicada
France (la) Notonecte (the) Backswimmer la Corise -
Italy (la) Notonetta (the) Backswimmer (la) Corissa -
Nuotatori sul dorso (on the)Backswimmer
Spain Nadador de espalda Back-swimmer Barqueiro Ferry man
Garapito (Regional name) Barqueiro menor Small(er) ferry man
Vespa d'aigua Water wasp Barquer petit Small ferry man
Denmark Rygsvømmer Backswimmer Bugsvømmere Belly swimmer
Norway Ryggsymjar Backswimmer Buksvømmeren Belly swimmer
Sweden Ryggsimmaren Backswimmer Buksimmaren Belly swimmer
Finland Malluaiset (Finnish name) Pikkumalluaiset (Pikku=small)
Hungaria Hanyattúszö poloska Backswimmer bug Búvárpoloskák Diverbug
Tsjechia Znakoplavka obecná Backswimmer(normal) Klešt'anka obecná ? obecná = normal
Poland grzbietopławek back swimming Wiošlak wiosło = paddle
Pluskolec ? - (read below)
Russia Gladysz
? Greblyaki

Japan Matumo
? Coryxa Japanese ?

There is Markku Savela's Finnish web site with insect names I find quite exotic with all the double pointed letters. Malluaiset is the untranslatable Finnish name for the backswimmer (thank you, Markku). Please note that Pikkumalluaiset is both the name for the Sigara species, and for the WHOLE Lesser Water Boatman family.

Lech Pietrzak from Poland e-mailed me the following:

The Polish name of "Corixa" is: singular - "wioslak", plural: "wiošlaki". The name is connected with word "wiosło" that means "paddle" and concern specific swimming of these insects. The Polish names of "Notonecta" is: singular - "grzbietopławek", "pluskolec", plural "grzbietopławki" or "pluskolce". The name "grzbietopławek" is derived from two Polish words: "grzbiet" - back and "pływaç" - to swim. It means something that swims on their back. I am not sure about the name "pluskolec". It could be connected with Polish name "płuskac sië" - dabble, splash. But it could be also connected with Polish name of the bed-bug - "pluskwa", because Notonecta could jab (sting) like a bed-bug.



Page track: INDEX » Bugs 2 » Corixa » Names

All pictures on this site have been made by G.H. Visser (Aadorp, Holland), unless otherwise mentioned. All rights remain with him. These photo's may not be used for other then strictly private uses. In case you want to use them for purposes including third parties, you MUST request permission, by e-mailing the author. I encourage especially those wanting to use the pictures for nature-expositions or other educative targets.
© G.H. Visser 03-2002
rev 04-04-2022

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