Nature’s Scuba Divers: How Beetles Breathe Underwater | Deep Look

Nature’s Scuba Divers: How Beetles Breathe Underwater | Deep Look

We think we know what water feels like, how it behaves. But perception is a matter of scale. For very small animals – water feels different.
It has different properties. It’s almost gooey. And for some insects, this strange fact is
key to their survival. Meet nature’s scuba divers. They can breathe underwater. Because they
carry their air with them— in some cases, for a lifetime. What makes this possible is a force almost
too subtle for bigger animals, like us, to notice: surface tension. Here’s how it works… Water molecules are
drawn to each other.. they’re kind of sticky. At the surface, that creates a … film…
that can actually carry weight. That’s surface tension. It also allows bubbles to form. This beetle traps a bubble with his outer
wings. He hauls it under the surface while he hunts
for food. See how the bubble is attached to his rump?
That’s where his breathing holes are. They’re called spiracles. When he’s used up the oxygen in the bubble,
he lets it go. And returns to the surface for a new one. These beetles have a different technique.
They’re born on land but enter the water as adults. And they never go back. That’s because part of their shells are
covered in tiny bristles, which use surface tension to trap a layer of air known as a
plastron. That coating of air gives this beetle a gold
shimmer, almost like she’s in a space suit. Surface tension keeps a whole underwater menagerie
alive. All these insects have found ways to carry
air with them underwater. But it’s fragile. Just a little bit of soap
can disrupt surface tension – destroy its magical properties. When surface tension breaks, a whole world
can drown. Just like these paper clips sinking to the
bottom of the bowl. And even though we’re bigger? We still rely
on it. Surface tension allows raindrops to form,
trees to carry water to their leaves, ice to float. We may not always notice surface tension. But we need it, just as much as they do. Oh good. You’re still here? Well, take another look at this water scorpion. No, she’s not a scorpion, she just looks like one. But her tail is a snorkel. She actually breathes air through it. Cool, right? Also cool? That subscription button. It costs nothing to you to click on it. But when you do, we get to bring you more stories. More bugs and stuff. So, thanks — thanks for subscribing, thanks for watching, see you next time.

Comments (100)

  1. Opposite of rolly polies

  2. Does ice really depends on surface tension to float on the water? I though it floats because it is less dense than water liquid water.

  3. Self

  4. Those beetles swim in a really cute way :< like a tiny, tiny turtle.

  5. There are Underwater Insects???
    This is actually a MindBlown moment for me!

  6. I should subscribe and you should too
    These people are amazing

  7. This makes humans practicly useless

  8. Feel like this needs to be reposted. Regarding ice floating and surface tension…

    Elliott Kennerson
    1 year ago
    I saw the question about whether surface tension really makes ice float…Good question! You're right, ice is less dense than water, which is why it floats, according to the principle of buoyancy named by Archimedes. The water molecule's polar forces—the ones that cause the surface tension phenomena in the piece—ALSO cause ice to freeze in a crystalline pattern that makes it less dense than liquid water. Think about if ice actually sank, the way most solids would in their own liquid. The oceans would have frozen from the bottom up long ago!

    He answered this question and yet people keep repeating it lol.

  9. And i thought i was free from bugs and insects in the water

  10. 0:12— isn't that just satisfying? ( ^.^ )

  11. What do those water beetles eat?

  12. “Wait a sec, gotta get another bubble…”

  13. A little dish soap will fix those bugs up.

  14. I really like that music

  15. I subscribed because she said " she will make more videos" so I thought, true, they are pretty good videos, let me listen to the PBS voice

  16. So what happens if he farts?

  17. helped me for my exam

  18. Slap Ure Self If Everytime she Say Surface Tension

  19. video is made so beautiful

  20. If humas get this in evolution…it would be embarrassing.

    We would be using our farts to breath underwater.

  21. so, in a billion years and evoluting, they'll become a fish?

  22. Did that Bug at the start just Farted???😂😂

  23. 0:35 Haha the music and beetle's swimming moves are so derp I love it

  24. yo that background music was a bop

  25. the intro Farting under water XD XD

  26. Nice video. I didn't know soap cancels water tension.

  27. Surface tension cool

  28. What's the song in the background?

  29. This is so fascinating. When I was growing up, I had a book about insects that had a picture of the first water beetle and its air bubble. This is the first time I've seen it in action, though, and it's amazing.

  30. Your voice is amazing

  31. So this animal will evolve to live in water?

  32. Amazing, just wow…very cool. Subscribed

  33. I thought the air was the beetle’s way of passing gas. I was certainly wrong, oh well.

  34. Just imagine how many lives we kill just by polluting water.

  35. I was just looking at one of these beetles at work and found my answer! EXCELLENT

  36. they can swim better than i can

  37. Surface tention doesnt make ice float XDDDD

  38. Ice is not depended on surface tension it floats because of density

  39. You are Awesome !!! I love watching these video's.

  40. What would happen if we treated storm clouds with a chemical that reduced the surface tension of water? Would it just stay as a cloud longer?

  41. 0:05 mmmm…. farting beetles

  42. Beetle: swims
    Me: o h

  43. So ice being less dense than water has nothing to do with it?

  44. They have not found ways to this , they were created like that

  45. So that's probably why ninjas and Jesus can walk on water!

  46. He uses his farts to survive

  47. I used to love watching water boatmen (diving beetles) swimming around in my pool!

  48. "Ice to float"
    Please go and look up specific weight


  50. im just NOT ganna do more because I’m too lazy so yeet xd

  51. Ur telling me I don’t have to just worry about land scorpions now I have to worry about water scorpions to?!

  52. Wanna mess up your brain for an hour? Earth is blanketed in things like oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. Those are much thicker than the vacuum of space. The air we breathe is thicker than the nothingness of space. Human are living in an airy, less-dense soup than creatures in water. But biologically, we're the same. It's about scale and size. Our planet is a pellet among the stars and totally coated in something. Something denser than nothingness. You and I and your children are little creatures clinging to a rock covered in molecules of elements allowing us to live. Ponder that. A droplet covered in a few droplets allowing life. We are nothing. Nothing. Hurling through space. Appreciate the Earth. She's our only pond.

  53. Fabulous FC can MN bvbjbnkh

  54. tell me why i held my breath while watching 😭

  55. When I lived in Korea they were every where

  56. Ur voice is lovely 👌🏼

  57. Found a Great Diving Beetle randomly while out walking along a beach and had no clue what it was, I've spent the last half hour reading about it, it's pretty cool the kind of things you encounter in nature. It's like we take all this immense complexity for granted, but just saying, "Oh, well, that's a beetle, I guess." I'm glad videos like this exist, thank god we're a curious species xD

  58. the music makes them sound cute

  59. i needed to know this

  60. Hi. What did they mean by surface tension allows ice to float? I thought it ice floats because water is a bent molecule; the bend causes the molecules to freeze in a position such that gaps form, and thus is less dense than water in the liquid state making it float.. I guess I don't understand where the surface tension comes in.?

  61. loved the music production on this video!

  62. Never looked at water the same after this now it just looks a lot like goo

  63. You guys are amazing love you all ❤

  64. Finally a way to get rid of all the water striders in my pond, a little bit of dish soap. Thanks!

  65. Dat beat though!

  66. Her voice is so raspy and Annoying

  67. Surface tension doesn't make ice float.

  68. really nice video. thank you.looking forward for new surprising episodes with insects.

  69. ربنا ما خلقت هذا باطلا سبحانك

  70. That's the thing in my pool

  71. They're evolving

  72. The way the little guy swims is really cute

  73. I'm gonna soap rivers

  74. As a lifelong Half-Life fan and a dedicated bug lover I really appreciate and love surface tension!

  75. Ice floating not because of a surface tension…

  76. James Blish wrote a wonderful short story called ”Surface tension” from an even smaller perspective long ago…

  77. could you not turn every video into a conservation one please!

  78. My brain:pop it

    Me:it will die thought…

    My brain:we don’t need the beetle anyway

    Me:am I really gonna pop it for your amusement?!?

    My brain:you popped it

    Me:WHAT?! looks down at the bettle

    My brain:why did you have to pop the bubble


  79. Ice floats from its lower density not surface tension

  80. Wait, I thought ice floats because of density, not surface tension.

  81. Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide

  82. Ice floats because it has smaller density not because of surface tension. Disliked

  83. Why do I need rain drops?

  84. Surface tension causes ice to float? Is that right? I thought it had to do with density

  85. I wish you guys and gals made LONGER videos!

  86. Who else got a shoe comecial?

  87. '
    which water condition…
    clean fresh water or salt water

  88. I love this. You should emphasize on the soap vs bugs thing. Because im sure a lot of viewers didn't get that. Thats a whole 5-10 minute video in itself.

  89. So water is sticky not wet

  90. PBS = BBC for dummies

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