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whirligig beetle

noun
1.
any of numerous aquatic beetles of the family Gyrinidae, commonly seen in groups circling about rapidly on the surface of the water.
Origin
1850-1855
1850-55
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for whirligig beetle
  • The whirligig beetle's eyes focus both above and below water level to help it find prey at the water's surface.
  • Named after the whirligig beetle that swims about quickly in the water.
British Dictionary definitions for whirligig beetle

whirligig beetle

noun
1.
any flat-bodied water beetle of the family Gyrinidae, which circles rapidly on the surface of the water
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for whirligig beetle

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.

Learn more about whirligig beetle with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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