Commonly known as the water cricket this bug is widespread throughout the UK, from sea level to an altitude of about 750 metres. Requiring flowing water it is mostly confined to steams and rivers, but does occur in ponds and lakes where there is some water movement. Clear weed-free water with a low amount of organic material in solution and vegetated margins is preferred. Velia caprai feeds on insects, spiders and other small invertebrates which are perceived by the bug when caught on the water surface, large prey being taken to land on the tip of the rostrum for consumption. Eggs are laid in moss in May and June and adults, which overwinter, appear by late July / August. Usually with reduced wings (apterous) although winged individuals do occur.
The map is based on records from NBN Gateway, with yellow dots showing pre 1990 records, reds dots 1990 – 2015 records and red on yellow dots overlapping records. Found throughout Ireland.
There are two species of Velia, the common V. caprai and the more local V. saulii, which is rare in the south of Britain and more common in northern England, Scotland and the northern half of Ireland.