predaceous diving beetle

(Dytiscus spp.)

predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.)
Photo by Amy Piere-Soll
  Dytiscus is a genus of large predaceous diving beetles. There are 26 Dytiscus species worldwide, 12 species in North America north of Mexico, and at least 7 species in Minnesota. They occur in Europe, Asia, and North America. They are found in ponds, freshwater pools, rivers, and streams. Larvae are found among aquatic plants. They pupate in moist earth near the water’s edge. Adults are found among debris in open, deeper water. They will fly to lights. Both adults and larvae feed on aquatic animals, including fish, tadpoles, and insect larvae.      

Adults are broadly oval and large, to 1916 (22 to 40 mm) long. They are black or dark brown, often with a greenish tinge. The body is broadest near the middle. The sides of the thoracic shield (pronotum) on most species are bordered with yellow. The sides of the hardened wing covers (elytra) on all species are bordered with yellow. The elytra on the female of most species have 10 parallel grooves. The elytra on the male of all species is smooth. The legs are yellow or brownish. The fourth leg segment (tibia) on the hind leg is much longer than broad, and has a long, very thin spur at the tip.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82.



Coleoptera (beetles)  


Adephaga (ground and water beetles)  




Dytiscidae (predaceous diving beetles)  





Subordinate Taxa


black-bellied great diving beetle (Dytiscus semisulcatus)

boreal water beetle (Dytiscus alaskanus)

Dauria dytiscid diving beetle (Dytiscus dauricus)

great diving beetle (Dytiscus marginalis)

highland great diving beetle (Dytiscus circumcinctus)

Harris’s diving beetle (Dytiscus harrisii)

highland great diving beetle (Dytiscus circumcinctus)

king diving beetle (Dytiscus dimidiatus)

predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus cordieri)

predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus hybridus)

ringed dytiscid diving beetle (Dytiscus circumcinctus)

understriped diving beetle (Dytiscus fasciventris)

vertical diving beetle (Dytiscus verticalis)

wasp great diving beetle (Dytiscus circumflexus)







Common Names


This genus has no common name. The common name of the Family Dytiscidae is predaceous diving beetles, and is applied here for convenience.









The hardened or leathery forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs. Singular: elytron.



The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.



The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.






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Amy Piere-Soll

    predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.)   predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.)  
    predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.)   predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.)  
    predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.)      








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Visitor Sightings

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  Shawn Hyde

Location: Bigfork, MN - Itasca County

Flew to our lighting while we were boiling maple About 100ft from the lake.

  Janice Cooney

Location: northeast Nebraska

I found this beetle on my deck last night near the porch light. It is an oval shaped insect a little over an inch long, dark brown/black, shiny with large eyes. It has little muffs on its front legs and has an unpleasant odor. I have never seen a beetle like this and it was the only one around. I am located in northeast Nebraska and the night time temperatures are in the 40 -50's.

Photo by Amy Piere-Soll

predaceous diving beetle (Dytiscus sp.)







Created: 10/22/2020

Last Updated:

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