Fun Sunburst Diving Beetle Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Sunburst Diving Beetle Facts For Kids

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The sunburst diving beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) is a North American species of a diving beetle. They are quite colorful and also known by the name spotted diving beetle. The colors on their body are meant to be aposematic which is a clear signal for their predators to beware. Members of the insect order Coleoptera, the sunburst diving beetles are among 330,000 different described species of animals. It is said that one-quarter of all animals are actually beetles. The special feature of this species of aquatic insects is that they have bifocals to let them see long distances and switch back to close-ups. This helps them immensely in hunting. They also are able to breathe underwater by carrying an air bubble attached to their abdomen, like a scuba diver!

This species has been a revelation recently when it was found that the larvae stage in the water is the first recorded use of bifocal technology in all animals. They have two retinas and two focal planes. They are also strong fliers with strong wings attached. If their habitat of ponds dries up, they are often seen flying away in search of a favorable water habitat.

Beetles of the phylum Arthropoda constitute one-quarter of all animals in the world. There are many distinctive features of every species. Find some fun facts on the tiger beetle and the green June beetle only on the Kidadl website.

Fun Sunburst Diving Beetle Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Aquatic Insects, Mosquito Larvae, Invertebrates

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

0.4-0.6 in (10-15 mm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Black, Yellow Spots

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Habitat Loss, Climate Change

What is their conservation status?

Not Listed

Where you'll find them?

Ponds, Lakes, Water Troughs


Mexico, Texas, New Mexico, Southern California, Arizona









Sunburst Diving Beetle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a sunburst diving beetle?

These water beetles belong to the family of water beetles known as Predacious diving beetles and the family Dytiscidae, and order Coleoptera).

What class of animal does a sunburst diving beetle belong to?

The sunburst diving beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) falls under the class of Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda in the Animalia kingdom.

How many sunburst diving beetles are there in the world?

The population of these beetles is not known, but they are commonly found all over the world in their habitats. The search for these water insects is not easy because of their size and habitat.

The family Dytiscidae contains around 2,000 different species of diving beetles.

The family Curculionidae, or weevils, is the largest family of beetles. They have around 45,000 species in the family.

Where does a sunburst diving beetle live?

The search for these diving beetles is limited to the range of Southwestern California and southern Utah to western Texas, Mexico, and northern Central America. They are found in the Sonoran Desert in Southern California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Northern Mexico is most favorable for these insects.

What is a sunburst diving beetle's habitat?

They are mostly nocturnal but are working day and night. They live in clear, shallow, slow-moving streams or pools. Their range includes freshwater ponds and lakes.

Who do sunburst diving beetles live with?

They are usually solitary predators but are sometimes found in small groups of 10-12 in stream pools.

Abedus herberti, also called the toe biter, is often kept with sunburst beetles in zoos, among other related species. They are also found together in the wild.

How long does a sunburst diving beetle live?

The usual lifespan of the diving beetles is around two or three years. Their life cycle includes four stages, eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season is all year round and the courtship behavior of the adults is not well described. The adult male and female use pheromones or sounds for courtship. The adult male grasps and mounts on the female by grasping the wings with lower front legs. Eggs are laid on aquatic plants in a clutch of up to 20. The eggs hatch in between four and eight days. In optimal conditions, the development from egg to adult takes around 28 days.

Both great diving beetles and sunburst beetles use live aquatic plants to deposit their eggs.  

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the water beetles is not listed by the IUCN Red List. Pollution, climate change, and degradation of their range of water habitats have affected their population and have made them fly and swim long distances in search of better homes.

Sunburst Diving Beetle Fun Facts

What do sunburst diving beetles look like?

They have a shiny black body with bright yellow spots on each wing cover

Their flattened and oval-shaped body has a shiny black coloration with 10-11 bright yellow spots on their wing covers. The males have suction discs on each hind leg. The underside is colored bright orange to reddish-orange. Their head is colored yellow with an M-shaped marking.

The larvae have a soft, elongated body with developed legs and antennae. They have sickle-shaped pincers and a small flattened head.

A similar coloration of the body is found in Thermonectus zimmermani. This aquatic insect has an irregular and blotched pattern on its body. Sunburst diving beetles have a spotted pattern of yellow circles.

How cute are they?

They are quite pretty to look at and if you like bugs then you will probably find them cute as well.

How do they communicate?

They communicate with each other by the use of visual or chemical systems.

How big is a sunburst diving beetle?

The length of the sunburst diving beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) ranges from 0.4-0.6 in (10-15 mm).

The great diving beetle is a large species in the family of these aquatic beetles and the larvae grow up to a size of 2.4 in (6.1 cm) length. The adults have a range of 1.1-1.4 in (2.8-3.5 cm).

How fast can a sunburst diving beetle fly?

The speed of the beetle is unknown. Usually, beetles prefer to use their hind legs to run than fly. The Australian tiger beetle is the fastest runner with a speed of 5.6 mph (9 kph).

These aquatic insects live on water and are known for their swimming abilities. Their unique way of swimming is marked by thrusting their hind legs simultaneously. They can even thrive underwater because of their use of air bubbles. When this habitat does not work, they simply use their wings instead of their legs and fly away in search of a new pond or habitat.

How much does a sunburst diving beetle weigh?

The weight of the beetle is not known at the moment.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males and females are not given different names.

What would you call a baby sunburst diving beetle ?

The babies are called larvae after hatching.

What do they eat?

They usually prey on aquatic invertebrates, tadpoles, and fish. The invertebrates include mosquito larvae, small crustaceans, and zooplankton. Due to their heightened vision, they normally stalk prey and then strike them with great force.

Are they dangerous?

They are not dangerous. While not poisonous, they eject a foul-tasting liquid from the glands on their heads to scare off fish, frogs, and predatory insects.

Would they make a good pet?

They are not usually considered pets as most of them are small and inconspicuous. Even if kept at home, they should not be kept near fish as their diet includes them.

Did you know...

The sunburst diving beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) is preyed on by dragonflies and damselflies. They are also eaten by various fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

They are not endemic.

The beetles can fly from one habitat to another when in need.

What eats diving beetle?

Predators of these beetles include Odonate nymphs, big fish, reptiles, and birds.

How long can diving beetles stay underwater?

These beetles, of the genus Thermonectus, are aquatic insects that usually carry an air bubble in their abdomen which helps them to stay underwater longer. When they come to the surface, they make a bubble of air, like a scuba oxygen tank, and attach it to their body before diving back into the water. The air contains enough oxygen for them to sustain for a long period of time. With this process, they can stay a long time underwater, with some researchers claiming 10 minutes and others up to 36 hours!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including scorpion facts and wheel bug facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Sunburst Diving Beetle coloring pages.

Written By
Ritwik Bhuyan

<p>A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.</p>

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