The Fascinating Way In Which Beetles and Other Insects Are Able to Breathe Underwater

KQED Science takes a look at the fascinating manner in which beetles and other insects are able to breathe underwater. The insects use the principles of surface tension to capture the necessary oxygen to carry with them.

Surface tension is the property of any liquid that describes how its particles stick together. In the case of water, surface tension is especially strong, enough to form a kind of film where it meets the air, whether at the surface or in a bubble. …If you’re a bug the size of a paperclip, in other words, surface tension makes a difference. Harnessing it, some aquatic beetles carry the oxygen they need underwater in the form of a temporary bubble, sort of like a natural scuba tank. Others encase themselves in a layer of air and draw oxygen from it their whole lives.

Water Beetle

image via KQED Science

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