Water Beetles

Beetles of a number of families are totally aquatic in all stages. Both larvae and adults live their lives submerged, in a variety of running and standing water habitats, although the adults leave the water to fly to new localities if their homes dry up. Adults take oxygen from the atmosphere, storing it in air bubbles under the elytra or among the body's surface hairs; larvae likewise tap surface air by means of snorkellike posterior breathing tubes. When molested, whirligigs and predaceous diving beetles discharge a milky secretion from abdominal glands which has a fruity odor and apparently serves as a protective measure against other aquatic predators, such as fish. Hydrophilids apparently lack this ability.

Larvae are varied in form and preferred habitats (Bertrand 1972). Virtually all leave the water to form their pupal cells.


Bertrand, H. P. 1. 1972. Larves et nymphes des coléoptères aquatiques du globe. Paillart, Paris.

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