Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native )
These aquatic diving beetles have bodies that are compressed top to bottom and keeled laterally and ventrally. They have hydrodynamic bodies and average 27mm in length.
Range mass: 30 (high) g.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry
- Crowson, R. 1981. The Biology of the Coleoptera. New York: Academic Press.
- van Nostrand, B. 1972. Grzimeck's Animal Life Encyclopedia: Insecta. New York: Reinnold Company.
Dytiscus marginalis do not exist below certain elevations and are found in mountain lakes or ponds or in collections of melted snow. Adults hibernate under stones to avoid being frozen in the water during colder seasons. (Evans and Bellamy 1996) These beetles are active anywhere by the ice, where they exploite the oxygen bubbles that usually occur under ice along with dissolved oxygen.(Crowson 1981)
Terrestrial Biomes: tundra ; mountains
Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds
Beetles of this family eat on several aquatic animals, including fish! Adults and larva are very carnivorous and search for their prey by diving and swimming actively through zones in the water where light reaches. (Borror and White 1970, Gullan and Cranstan 1994)
Life History and Behavior
Mating occurs in or near water by the Dytiscids. Beetles of this species undergo a complete metamorphosis. Eggs are laid underwater and are usually placed in special cavities cut in the stems of emergent plants (Crowson 1981). Eggs hatch within a few weeks (McCafferty 1998).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Dytiscus marginalis
Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.
Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Dytiscus marginalis
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
European scientists are trying to extend protection to the Dytiscus marginalis beetles and other water beetles by going further than just restricting collection. The Water Beetle Specialist Group and the Saproxylic Invertebrate Project are two organizations that have been hard at work fostering the education, biodiversity, and conservation of the water beetle.
(Evans and Bellamy 1996)
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
Great diving beetle
The great diving beetle, Dytiscus marginalis, is a large aquatic diving beetle native to Europe and northern Asia, and is particularly common in England. The great diving beetle, true to its name, is a rather sizable insect. The larvae can grow up to 60 mm in length, while the adults are generally between 27-35 mm.
These beetles live in fresh water, either still or slow-running, and seem to prefer water with vegetation. They are dark-coloured (brown to black) on their back and wing cases (elytra) and yellow on their abdomen and legs. The male's wing cases are shiny, while those of the female are finely grooved. A voracious predator, this beetle hunts a wide variety of prey, including other insects, tadpoles, and small fish.
They are able fliers, usually at night, when they use the reflection of moonlight to locate new water sources, this location method can sometimes cause them to land on wet roads or other hard wet surfaces.
Before they dive, they collect air bubbles in their wing cases which goes through the spiracles. The jaws of a great diving beetle are strong compared to their body size.
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