Length: 2-4 mm
H.B. Hungerford in 1917 penned this lyrical description of the habitat of the Water Treader in genus Mesovelia:
"It wears the brightest livery of them all, for the young and the apterous forms of the adults display varying degrees of green coloration, while the winged ones are even more conspicuous on the floating blankets of green algae because of the silvery whiteness of their wings.
"It is at home in the haunts of the marsh-treader on the floating vegetation growing in the shallow waters of the pools, where the clumps of sedge spread their slender stems upon the water from the bordering bank, where young cat-tails spring up and green algae carpet the surface of the waters" (Hungerford, 1917).
As Hungerford mentioned, Mesovelia species come in both winged and wingless adult forms, and note too that ocelli are present in the winged form, but "obsolescent" in the wingless adults (Hungerford, 1919). In his 1919 article on aquatic insects Hungerford quotes White's 1879 description of the genus, in original Latin as any good scholar would do: "Sordide flavo-testacea, subopaca, plus minus fusco-nebulosa; clypeo, ocellis, pronoto marginibus angustissimis foveisque lobi antici et lobo postico..."
Water Treaders eat insects and other small invertebrates; their hunting method is to run along the surface of algae and duckweed, and even along the surface of the water, until they have run down their prey.
Note that this is both the genus page for Mesovelia and the family page for Water Treaders
American Insects site