Notonectidae is a cosmopolitan family of aquatic insects in the order Hemiptera, commonly called backswimmers because they swim "upside down" (inverted). They are all predators and typically range from 0.5 to 1.5 cm (0.2–0.6 in) in length. They are similar in appearance to Corixidae (water boatmen), but can be separated by differences in their dorsal-ventral coloration, front legs, and predatory behavior.
Backswimmers swim on their backs, vigorously paddling with their long, hair-fringed hind legs and attack prey as large as tadpoles and small fish. They can inflict a painful "bite" on a human being, actually a stab with their sharp tubular mouthparts (proboscis).