whirligig beetle

any of numerous aquatic beetles of the family Gyrinidae, commonly seen in groups circling about rapidly on the surface of the water.
[1850-55]

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insect
      any of about 700 species of beetles (insect order Coleoptera) that are widespread throughout the world and are usually seen in groups, spinning and whirling around on the surfaces of quiet ponds or lakes. Whirligig beetles prey on insects and other creatures that fall on the water surface. Their bodies are oval, flattened, and metallic bluish black in colour. The front legs are long and slim, while the middle and hind pairs are short and flattened and function as oars. They can dive and swim underwater when attacked. The compound eyes are divided, making them appear to have two pairs of compound eyes, one above and one below the water surface. They have well-developed wings and can fly well.

      The female whirligig beetle deposits cylindrical eggs in parallel rows on underwater vegetation. The long, narrow larvae have only three pairs of true legs, and fringed gills on each abdominal segment make them resemble centipedes. Hooks at the end of the abdomen anchor the larva when it captures food. At the pupal stage the larva emerges from the water, hangs upside down on shore vegetation by its hooks, and forms a pupal case from dirt and saliva. When disturbed, whirligig beetles exude a disagreeable-smelling milky liquid, which probably serves for protection. In Dineutes americanus, this fluid smells like apples.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • whirligig beetle — n. any of a small family (Gyrinidae) of bluish black gregarious beetles found darting about in circles on the surface of ponds, streams, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Whirligig beetle — Taxobox name = Whirligig beetle image width = 200px image caption = Gyrinus natator regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda classis = Insecta ordo = Coleoptera subordo = Adephaga familia = Gyrinidae familia authority = Latreille, 1802 subdivision… …   Wikipedia

  • whirligig beetle — noun aquatic beetle that circles rapidly on the water surface • Hypernyms: ↑beetle • Member Holonyms: ↑Gyrinidae, ↑family Gyrinidae * * * noun : any of numerous beetles of the family Gyrinidae that have a firm oval usually dark body with a bronzy …   Useful english dictionary

  • whirligig beetle — n. aquatic beetle that circles quickly on the surface of calm freshwater in groups …   English contemporary dictionary

  • whirligig beetle — noun Date: 1855 any of a family (Gyrinidae) of beetles with two pairs of eyes and clubbed antennae that live mostly on the surface of water where they swim swiftly about in circles …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • whirligig beetle — noun Any of various water beetles of the family Gyrinidae that swim rapidly in circles when alarmed …   Wiktionary

  • whirligig beetle — whirl′igig bee tle n. ent any of numerous aquatic beetles of the family Gyrinidae, commonly seen in groups circling about rapidly on the surface of water • Etymology: 1850–55 …   From formal English to slang

  • whirligig beetle — /wɜligɪg ˈbitl/ (say werleegig beetl) noun any of the aquatic beetles of the family Gyrinidae, commonly seen circling rapidly about in large numbers on the surface of the water …   Australian English dictionary

  • Whirligig (disambiguation) — Whirligig is a generic name for an object that spins or whirls (or has whirling parts). The term may specifically refer to one of the following*Whirligig beetle *Whirligig mite, Anystis baccarum (L.) *Samara, fruit falling in spiral (from ash… …   Wikipedia

  • whirligig — ► NOUN 1) a toy that spins round, e.g. a top or windmill. 2) another term for ROUNDABOUT(Cf. ↑roundabout) (in sense 2). 3) (also whirligig beetle) a small black water beetle which typically swims rapidly in circles on the surface. ORIGIN from… …   English terms dictionary

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