One part is for seeing under water and one is for above water. Gyrinus natator, the common whirligig beetle, is a species of beetle native to the Palearctic realm, including much of Europe.Its range extends northwards as far as Norway, Finland, and the Saint Petersburg area of Russia. Soldier beetles. Viewed from the side you can see compound eyes of the whirligig beetle, one looking up, another looking down. These are the only beetles to spend their adult lives in this environment. Whirligig beetles’ eyes are split; half of each eye lies below the horizon and half rises above it, so they can view two worlds at once—pretty handy for a predator. When disturbed it dives to the bottom. When doing the latter, it takes along an air bubble that acts like a lung. But with a quick wave of my hand, whirligigs quickly shift into the swirling, dizzying, pandemonium from which they gain their name and possibly avoid the jaws of predators. All it takes is a quick look with a magnifying glass to notice that these beetles have two fully formed compound eyes looking up at the sky, and a second fully … Whirligig Beetle Family: GYRINIDAE Identification: Black, or nearly black, flattened and streamlined for aquatic life. These little creatures seek protection in groups, swimming frantically in circles when agitated. Pond species often fly to large streams and lakes to overwinter. Spend most of their lives at the surface of the water. This beetle zips in wild patterns all around the surface of quiet water. Fireflies. They have a broad, flattened body with a fringe of hairs. A swarm of Whirligig beetles, some sparkling in the sunlight. We use cookies to give you the best browsing experience. Overwater eye (a, c, e, g). Find out more about our cookie policy, Charles J. Kazilek, Arizona State University, Sense light (visible spectrum) from the environment. The whirligig beetle has bifocal eyes to see above and below pond water, but that is the least of its marvels. Commonly known as whirligig beetles, these are aquatic insects that can dive and fly but spend most of their time on the water’s surface, semi-submerged. They get their common name from their habit of swimming rapidly in circles when alarmed, and are also notable for their divided eyes which are believed to enable them to see both above and below water. Whirligig beetles (Gyrinidae: ... For “unsighted beetles” we obstructed both dorsal eyes with a mark from a blue paintpen, and left the ventral eyes unobscured. An-tennae variously shaped.....3 3. No, it doesn’t wear glasses, although that would be pretty funny, but it really does have four eyes. Underwater eye (b, d, f, h). A unique feature of most beetles in this genus is their divided eyes. Size: 3 to 35 mm Habitat: Often congregate in both slow-, and fast-moving waters, especially in streams and ponds. Whirligig beetles have a unique solution to this visual dilemma. Many of us have had the interesting experience of observing aquatic creatures underwater at an aquarium or through the lens of a dive mask. Bombadier beetle. We use cookies to give you the best browsing experience. They get their common name from their habit of swimming rapidly in circles when alarmed, and are also notable for their divided eyes which are believed to enable them to see both above and below water. The four eyes that Erin noticed are a unique feature of the whirligig beetle family, Gyrinidae. Interesting Facts: Whirligig beetles’ eyes are divided, known insect is a scarab beetle. This allows them to see above and below the waterline at the same time. individual response, or (2) Environmental scanning is enhanced with the addition of more eyes to the group. You’ve seen that objects appear significantly larger underwater than when viewed in air. One of the eyes on each side allows them to see underwater and … The nanostructures on the rough eye reflect light to match the refractive index of the air to that of the eye. The whirligig beetles are a family (Gyrinidae) of water beetlesthat usually swim on the surface of the water if undisturbed, though they swim underwater when threatened. One challenge of course is the very different way light passes through water compared to its passage through air, and how this difference affects vision. Gennadiy A. Enin, Vladimir L. Katanaev. Artem Blagodatski, Michail Kryuchkov, Anton Sergeev, Andrey A. Klimov, Maxim R. Shcherbakov, Air and water have different refractive indexes, which affects the focusing of the eye. Under- and over-water halves of Gyrinidae beetle eyes harbor different corneal nanocoatings providing adaptation to the water and air environments. Fiery searcher. In this week’s episode we meet a fascinating beetle with four eyes. Separate nerve centers in the beetle’s tiny brain receive visual information from both pairs of eyes, integrate this information, and use it to hunt prey, find mates, and avoid predators. The have two pair of unusual eyes. But the question is why? Whirligig beetles .....Gyrinidae – Eyes not divided by lateral margin of head. It is an aquatic beetle and moves rapidly around on the surface or swims underwater in still or slow-moving fresh water. Their divided eyes are believed to allow them to see both above and below the water’s surface. Whirligig beetle larvae, on the other hand, are found underwater. Whirligig beetles (Gyrinidae family), which swim on the surface of ponds, have divided eyes: one half for vision under water, the other for seeing above the water so they can find food that drops in or floats by. Natural History: Adult whirligig beetles inhabit the upper surface of bodies of water; their most notable feature is the division of their compound eyes which enables them to view both above and below the surface. You usually see this aquatic beetle swimming around and around in circles on the surface of a pond searching for prey. Most species inhabit fresh water but a few occupy mixohaline habitats. Corneal surface of whirligig beetle eyes. It seems to have four eyes, two above the water and two below the water. The underwater eyes have a refractive index close to that of the water, so they have a smooth surface that does not require nanostructures. All photos and video are copyright of Michael J. Raupp unless otherwise noted. You usually see this aquatic beetle swimming around and around in circles on the surface of a pond searching for prey. All three have different characteristics so you can tell them apart easily. They have two eyes (one on top of the other) on the left and two eyes on the right (positioned in the same way). Beetles in the family Gyrinidae, commonly known as whirligig beetles, live the life aquatic at the interface between the world of air and sunlight and the world of swirling water. Other species also have divided eyes such as the longhorn beetles and weevils, while many beetles have eyes that are notched to some degree. Having crossed the optical threshold of unaided vision many years ago, I find having four eyes - that is, wearing glasses - to be incredibly useful, especially when trying to observe the antics of very small creatures like insects. Family, Gyrinidae a lung performance for rigid bodies and corresponds to ω=99.25L.! Walk on water or submerge lakes to overwinter ( fireflies, Lampyridae family ) larger... Effect of corneal nanocoatings is achieved by gradually matching the refractive indexes, which the... 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