Thursday, August 11, 2011

Great Diving Beetle

Dytiscus marginalis
Picking out just one Diving Beetle to talk about today was pretty tough, considering there are around 4,000 of them! Diving Beetles are members of a HUGE family, Dytiscidae, which includes 160 different genera.

The Great Diving Beetle is notable for its range, size, and incredible appetite. They can be found in various countries throughout Europe and Asia, and especially enjoy colder climates.

As larvae these insects can grow up to 2.3in (6cm) long. Though they are only about half that length as adults, they develop incredible hydrodynamic bodies that allow them to swiftly dive down into water in order to hunt and flee from their own hunters.

Great Diving Beetles will eat all sorts of things, even fish! They are carnivorous as both adults and larvae, and swim through the water, hunting out whatever living meals they can find. Adults have claws on their forelegs that let them grab on to prey. They then bite down and inject a fluid that begins to predigest the meal, which allows them to slurp up the insides. Yum!

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Europe and Asia
Size : Adult body length up to 3.5cm
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Class : Insecta -- Order : Coleoptera
Family : Dytiscidae -- Genus : Dytiscus -- Species : D. marginalis

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