Ecology

Associations

Known prey organisms

Dytiscidae preys on:
Bufo americanus

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
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Known predators

Dytiscidae is prey of:
Crocodylus niloticus

Based on studies in:
Malawi (River)
Africa, Crocodile Creek, Lake Nyasa (Lake or pond)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • G. Fryer, 1957. The trophic interrelationships and ecology of some littoral communities of Lake Nyasa with special reference to the fishes, and a discussion of the evolution of a group of rock-frequenting Cichlidae. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 132:153-281, f
  • G. Fryer, The trophic interrelationships and ecology of some littoral communities of Lake Nyasa, Proc. London Zool. Soc. 132:153-229, from p. 219 (1959).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:9345
Specimens with Sequences:6093
Specimens with Barcodes:3386
Species:1160
Species With Barcodes:778
Public Records:4083
Public Species:554
Public BINs:308
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Dytiscidae

Dytiscidae!<-- This template has to be "warmed up" before it can be used, for some reason -->

Dytiscidae – based on the Greek dytikos (δυτικός), "able to dive" – are the predaceous diving beetles, a family of water beetles. They are about 25 mm (one inch) long on average, though there is much variation between species. Dytiscus latissimus, the largest[citation needed], can grow up to 45 mm long. Most are dark brown, blackish or dark olive in color with golden highlights in some subfamilies. They have short, but sharp mandibles. Immediately upon biting they deliver digestive enzymes. The larvae are commonly known as water tigers. The family has not been comprehensively cataloged since 1920, but is estimated to include about 4,000 species in over 160 genera.

Contents

Larvae and development

A predaceous diving beetle larva ("water tiger")

When still in larval form, the beetles vary in size from about 1 to 5 cm (half an inch to two inches). The larvae's bodies are shaped like crescents, with the tail long and covered with thin hairs. Six legs protrude from along the belly, which also sports the same thin hairs. The head is flat and square, with a pair of long, large pincers. When hunting, they cling to grasses or pieces of wood along the bottom, and hold perfectly still until prey passes by, then they lunge, trapping their soon-to-be-food between their front legs and biting down with its pincers. Their usual prey includes tadpoles and glassworms, among dozens of other smaller water-dwelling creatures.

As soon as the beetles come to the stage in life in which they mature to adulthood, the larva crawl from the water on the sturdy legs, and bury themselves in the mud for pupation. After about a week, or longer in some species, they emerge from the mud as adults.

Edibility

Adult Dytiscidae, particular of the genus Cybister, are edible. In Mexico, C. explanatus are eaten roasted and salted to accompany tacos. In Japan, C. japonicus is used as food. In the Guangdong Province of China, the latter species as well as C. bengalensis, C. guerini, C. limbatus, C. sugillatus, C. tripunctatus and probably also the well-known Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis are bred for human consumption, though as they are cumbersome to raise due to the carnivorous habit and have a fairly bland (though apparently not offensive) taste and little meat, this is decreasing. Dytiscidae are reportedly also eaten in Taiwan, Thailand and on New Guinea.[1]

Large but slow on land and not particularly fierce as adults, they are also eaten with relish by many mid-sized birds, mammals and other larger predators. The larvae are usually safer, due to their camouflage and ability to escape by water jet; they can be quite hard to catch and may become apex predators in small ponds.

Systematics

The following taxonomic sequence gives the subfamilies, their associated tribes, and some notable genera. Note that the Colymbetinae are heavily split up in many treatments, and their monophyly if widely delimited is in doubt.

Subfamily Aubehydrinae

Subfamily Copelatinae

Subfamily Agabetinae

Subfamily Laccophilinae

Subfamily Hydroporinae

Various Dytiscidae, larvae and details.

Subfamily Colymbetinae

Agabus congener of the Agabini, sometimes considered a subfamily

Subfamily Dytiscinae

Footnotes

  1. ^ De Foliart (2002), Jäch (2003), CSIRO (2004)

References

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