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Whirligig Beetles

K. Ouchley

A boyhood on the edge of Louisiana swamp is fraught with danger, some real but most imagined. An example of the latter occurred when as adolescents my neighborhood gang would gather at the White's Ferry Bridge to swim on hot, summer days. The event began as we jumped from the high bridge into Bayou D'Arbonne below.

The older boys always warned us of an instant death that would befall us should we be so unfortunate to do a belly-buster from that height. Next in the line of perils was the alleged, near-death experience of jumping into a swarm of whirligig water bugs that frequented in the placid water of the bayou. 

Kelby was a biologist and manager of National Wildlife Refuges for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more than 30 years. He has worked with alligators in gulf coast marshes and Canada geese on Hudson Bay tundra. His most recent project was working with his brother Keith of the Louisiana Nature Conservancy on the largest floodplain restoration project in the Mississippi River Basin at the Mollicy Unit of the Upper Ouachita National Wildlife Refuge, reconnecting twenty-five square miles of former floodplain forest back to the Ouachita River.
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