Why did only one genus of insects, Halobates, take to the high seas? (PLOS Biology)

by H. Mishra, L. Cheng
Year: 2022 ISSN: 1544-9173 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001570


Oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and house a dizzying array of organisms. Mammals, birds, and all manner of fish can be commonly sighted at sea, but insects, the world’s most common animals, seem to be completely absent. Appearances can deceive, however, as 5 species of the ocean skater Halobates live exclusively at the ocean surface. Discovered 200 years ago, these peppercorn-sized insects remain rather mysterious. How do they cope with life at the ocean surface, and why are they the only genus of insects to have taken to the high seas?