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any of about 200 species of insects (order Heteroptera) that occur worldwide and are named for their ability to swim on their backs, which are shaped like the keel and sides of a boat. The back swimmer uses its long, oarlike legs for propulsion and has an oval-shaped head and an elongated body, generally less than 15 mm (0.6 inch) in length. It is a good example of countershading, as its light-coloured back, seen from below, blends into the water surface and sky. The rest of the body is darker and, when seen from above, blends with the bottom of the body of water in which it lives.