National Geographic : 1975 Oct
'4 y ATER TIGER!" The larval j/j/ form of a pothole beetle earns V • its name. Multiple eyes, swift legs, and a rapacious appetite make it one of the fiercest predators in a pool (right). Its mouth parts include hypodermic-like jabbers for injecting substances that turn the insides of victims into suckable juices. Cunning hunter, the adult beetle first bites off the tail of a hapless tadpole, which otherwise might have a chance of escape. Then, in a leisurely ten min utes (below left), the diner reduces its dinner to a sleeve of sagging skin. An air breather, the adult beetle totes a bubble under its wing case, now and then taking in new air and jettisoning the old (below right). It also has wings for flying, permitting escape from a dy ing pothole, and specially adapted rear legs for swimming (opposite).