Kleptoparasitism in Water Crickets

A sight that may not be for the feint of heart – 9 Water Crickets (Velia caprai) engage in a feeding frenzy on an unfortunate fly that has fallen into this quiet backwater. This is an act of intraspecific kleptoparasitism, that is, the stealing of food acquired by other members of your own species.

This behaviour is something that Velia caprai are known for – it was clear from watching the feeding bundle that the prey was not being shared voluntarily, with something akin to a water borne rugby scrum breaking out between the individuals.

Water crickets are smaller but sturdier looking than pond skaters, We noticed this group whilst walking along the edge of a quiet backwater ditch in the farm’s riverside fields. Quite the miniaturised jungle drama for a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

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