Under- and over-water halves of Gyrinidae beetle eyes harbor different corneal nanocoatings providing adaptation to the water and air environments

Sci Rep. 2014 Aug 8:4:6004. doi: 10.1038/srep06004.


Whirligig beetles (Gyrinidae) inhabit water surfaces and possess unique eyes which are split into the overwater and underwater parts. In this study we analyze the micro- and nanostructure of the split eyes of two Gyrinidae beetles genera, Gyrinus and Orectochilus. We find that corneae of the overwater ommatidia are covered with maze-like nanostructures, while the corneal surface of the underwater eyes is smooth. We further show that the overwater nanostructures possess no anti-wetting, but the anti-reflective properties with the spectral preference in the range of 450-600 nm. These findings illustrate the adaptation of the corneal nanocoating of the two halves of an insect's eye to two different environments. The novel natural anti-reflective nanocoating we describe may find future technological applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Air*
  • Animals
  • Coleoptera
  • Cornea / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Nanotechnology
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman
  • Surface Properties
  • Water / chemistry*
  • Wettability


  • Water