Image Credit: Image copyright www.InsectIdentification.org; No Reproduction Permitted
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, the size of a large cluster of Whirligigs seen spinning about can reach outrageous numbers. 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)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
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.