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Crazy fast and furious spirals best describe the swimming patterns of Whirligigs, small aquatic beetles that are fun to watch.
Whirligigs, some swimming and some floating
Whirligigs have four eyes: two above and two below water. This allows them to see through both media simultaneously. Their middle and hind legs are shaped more like a fin or paddle making them agile in the water. Though small as individuals, a large cluster of Whirligigs seen spinning about can contain outrageous numbers of them. They feed on detritus and small aquatic insects in water and can dive under whenever they like. They cannot breathe underwater so they capture and carry air bubbles when at the surface and take them below to respire.
Whirligigs have a milky chemical defense that they secrete when under threat. Its odor is perceptible to humans and is described unpleasant. The members of this genus prefer calmer waters like lakes and ponds, but are fine in rivers and streams. Whirligigs are mesmerizing to watch.
Scientific Name: Gyrinus spp.
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 8mm (0.12in to 0.31in)
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Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.