Features and habitat
The most famous of carnivorous beetles is considered fringed swimmer. Actually, the life cycle of a swimming beetle is the same as that of many other beetles - first, females lay eggs, from which larvae later emerge.
Swimmer Beetle Larva terribly voracious, and in size it often exceeds the adult, which is unusual in itself. If you consider photo of a swimming bug or see it in a natural habitat, for example, in a pond, you can easily notice that the body of a swimmer consists of a head, a thoracic section and an abdomen.
One part of the body smoothly passes into another, all parts are motionlessly fused, and the whole body has an oval shape, which is most convenient for swimming. The sensory organs of the insect are located on the head. There are also oral organs, which are directed forward.
This nature was so worried that it would be more convenient for a terrible predator to catch its prey. The developed jaws of the swimmer grab the prey and easily crush it. But the small palps that are located on the jaw recognize the taste of prey and are the organ of touch.
By the way, the swimmer nibbles its prey, so it belongs to gnawing insects. On the head there are eyes, which are called complex eyes due to the fact that they consist of many facets (9000 small simple eyes). The organ of touch is also the antennae, which are located in the upper part of the head.
Yet the rest of the body is hidden under hard wings and therefore securely hidden. The swimmer is an unusual insect. Not so often you have to see a living creature that can fly perfectly, move on land and stay in water for a long time. Not only are swimmers in the water for a long time, they live there.
But, despite this, they cannot boast of gills. It’s very interesting to watch how do bugs swim. They breathe the same air as all land inhabitants. This beetle has special spiracles on the sides of the abdomen, the beetle exposes the posterior end of the abdomen from the water, gathers air, and the spiracles do their further work.
This amazing insect lives in stagnant water, for example, in ponds, in lakes, that is, where there is no strong water movement, but the food supply is good, because the swimming beetle is a serious predator. If you create the conditions for this representative of insects in your home aquarium, then the swimming beetle will perfectly master there. The owner will only have to observe the curious moments of this water resident.
Character and lifestyle
The lifestyle of this underwater predator is not replete with diversity. All that is busy swimming bugso is hunting or resting. But, meanwhile, the swimmer bears his name with dignity, he is a magnificent swimmer. He deftly uses his hind legs for swimming, which in their structure resemble small oars.
In order to swim it was even more convenient, the legs are equipped with small hairs. With such “oars”, the swimmer can easily overtake even some fish. A bug rests, as a rule, on the surface of the water, exposing the abdomen in order to replenish air supplies.
If the swimmer decides to soak up at the bottom of the reservoir, for this he needs to cling to something, for example, to an aquatic plant. The front legs are equipped with special hooks with which the beetle clings. But it can attach to a smooth surface.
And yet, do not forget that the swimmer, after all, is a bug. Therefore, do not be surprised if it can be found near the reservoir, on land. It just means that the swimmer just wanted to change the old place, and his strong wings serve him well - they are strong and well developed.
Aquatic beetle real glutton. Its menu is very diverse. Insects, insect larvae, snails, fish fry, and tadpoles go to food. If it is very tight with small prey, the swimmer can attack a newt and even a frog. It would seem that the newt should not be afraid of some kind of bug at all, but this is only at first glance.
It is enough for a bug to injure an animal or fish, as a whole flock of these bugs instantly gathers for the smell of blood and then the victim will not be free from cruel predators. Needless to say, if the swimmers can cause serious damage to the fisheries. If in the pond where the fish is located, too many beetles have divorced, then all the fish roe and fry will be mercilessly eaten, so the fish can simply disappear.
Therefore, many entrepreneurs whose business is based on fish farming are seriously concerned about the issue - how to get rid of the swimming bug. To do this, it is necessary to very well disinfect artificial ponds, after draining the water, and the spawning pond should be filled with water only before the landing of fish - producers.
Then the swimmers will not have time to breed before the fry are hatched. But the same question worries those who have ponds with decorative fish in their summer cottages or on sections of country houses. Owners of such ponds can be advised to organize a fountain in the pond.
The movement of water makes it very difficult for the swimmers to hunt, and the swimmer will not succeed in lying calmly on the water surface in order to gain air. He will try not to linger in such a pond. If the swimming bug was in the pool, you just need to remove it from there.
On the contrary, he will not break, there is no food, and the insect got into the water, probably by accident, because they feel the water very well, but whether they have food or not, they don’t see it right away. Only remove it carefully - swimmer beetle bite even for a person too painful. A sharp pain appears, which does not pass immediately.
Then, at the site of the bite, edema occurs, which passes only after 2-3 weeks. But not only the beetle is terrible, its larva is much more gluttonous. But she doesn’t have a mouth either. There are jaws, but no mouth, such is the irony of nature. There are only small holes near each jaw that extend into the throat.
But this does not prevent the larva from becoming even more gluttonous than adult relatives. Digestion of food occurs outside the larva itself. Grabbing its victim with its jaws, the larva sprinkles digestive fluid on it. This fluid paralyzes production.
The next portion of digestive juice already begins to digest the paralyzed victim, dilutes it, after which the larva sucks the “cooked” food directly into the throat. After eating, the larva cleans its jaws from the remains of the victim with its feet and prepares for a new hunt. The larva is never well-fed, so it is in the eternal search for food.
Reproduction and longevity
Immediately after the beetles depart from hibernation, the mating season begins. Having flown out of the wintering place, the beetles set off to look for a pond that would suit them for mating. There they find their "lady of the heart." Moreover, the latter can, in the full sense of the word, suffocate from love.
The fact is that mating takes place under water, and all the time of “love” the male himself is on top and can easily breathe air, sticking out part of the abdomen above the surface of the water. But the female is at the bottom, and cannot breathe atmospheric air. The mating time is somewhat longer than the time that the beetle can do without replenishing the body with air.
But, if a female can still survive one passionate lover, then when several “gentlemen” attack her, she simply cannot surface and dies from suffocation. After mating has occurred, the female immediately pierces the tissue of the aquatic plant with the ovipositor and begins to lay eggs there.
During the season, it can lay up to 1000 eggs, or even all 1500. Larvae emerge from the eggs, which immediately begin to hunt. After the larva grows, it crawls out to land, buries itself in coastal soil and pupates. And now, adult swim beetles appear from pupae.
In the natural environment, diving beetles live for no more than one year, but at home, if the owner of the beetle provides his pet with all the necessary conditions, the duration increases by 3-4 times and the diving beetle can live for more than 3 years.