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The Bembidion litorale group (subgenus Bracteon) is a group of 17 species distributed throughout the Holarctic region. Most species of this group occur on sandy beaches of rivers and lakes. Generally the shores have no vascular plants, although some species (e.g. B. inaequale) prefer areas of sparse vegetation. B. zephyrum occurs on the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. Adult Bracteon run on the beaches during the day and night; if approached on a warm, sunny day, they will take flight. They can be difficult to capture without a net.

Members of Bracteon can be abundant, with several species often living on the same beach. On a sandy beach of the North Saskatchewan River near Paynton, Saskatchewan, shown in this picture, seven species of the subgenus have been found together (B. balli, B. foveum, B. lapponicum, B. carinula, B. punctatostriatum, B. levettei, and B. inaequale).

To see a collection of pictures of adults of all but one of the known species, check out the gallery.

The species can be distinguished by external characteristics (see the Key to Species), although examination of male genitalia is sometimes necessary for greater certainty in the identification. (For a glossary of names of parts of male genitalia and other structures, see the Glossary.) More details can be found in the most recent revision of this group by Maddison (1993).


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