Whirligig beetles have two pairs of eyes — one pair for looking underwater and one for looking above the waterline.

The whirligig beetles are freshwater beetles that are named after their habit of swimming in circles on the surface of the water.

Whirligig beetles are among the most specialized beetles for living in and around water. Their middle and hind legs are modified for swimming: they are broad, flattened and oar-like, with a fringe of hairs. They also use their wings to fly in search of new ponds at night time.
But the most significant feature of this species is its unusual compound eyes, which are divided into two, one pair is above the surface of the water, and one pair is below. This allows them to see above and below the waterline at the same time.
If a predator such as a fish approaches from below, the beetle seeks shelter at the water’s edge.
If a predator such as a bird approaches from above, the beetle dives below the water for safety. They carry an air bubble around with them, which enables them to stay submerged for long periods of time if needed.

« »