On the left a picture of a Great diving beetle, resting under water. The respiration spot at the hind tip of the abdomen is closed because the beetle has pressed that tip firmly to the elytra , the wing cases that cover the back. The border of the air supply closed in under the elytra gives the tip a a silver seam. Like most water insects, the Great diving beetle needs to come up for a new supply of fresh air.
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At some 3cm long, this is one of the largest beetles found in Britain and Ireland. The Great Diving Beetle inhabits still or very slow-flowing freshwater, usually where there is plenty of submerged vegetation among which it can hunt its prey. These beetles have dark-brown wing cases elytra with an olive tinge and a brownish-yellow border. The females' wing cases are ribbed, while those of the males are smooth. Both males and females have dark, olive-brown, almond-shaped bodies, about three centimetres long, and thoraces bordered by dull yellow.
In the UK and Ireland, the wing cases of the female are ribbed whilst those of the male are smooth. In some parts of mainland Europe, females with smooth elytra are also recorded. The fearsome appearance of the adult beetle is more than skin deep: they can give a finger a very painful nip!
The larvae are typically 5cm long, and despite having soft bodies these larvae are capable of tackling large prey such as young newts, froglets and even small fishes, so human finger skin presents no obstacle to them! Great Diving Beetles mate and the females lay their eggs in early spring, inserting them singly into submerged aquatic plant stems.
The eggs take typically 18 days to incubate. The young larvae grow rapidly, and by late summer they are ready to pupate; before doing so they leave the water and burrow in wet marginal soil. The young adult beetles emerge from their pupae they 'eclode' typically in mid autumn, but they remain buried in the wet soil through the cold winter months, returning to the water as the days lengthen and get warmer.
Adult Great Diving Beetles are strong fliers, but for the most part this activity is nocturnal. Newly created garden ponds are often populated in this way during the first year after construction. Harde K. Littlehampton Book Services. If you found this information helpful, you would probably find the new edition of our bestselling book Matching the Hatch by Pat O'Reilly very useful. Order your copy here Other nature books from First Nature
Great diving beetle
They are predators that can reduce mosquito larvae. Dytiscus are large water beetles with a robust, rounded shape and they measure 2. Females are usually larger than the males and come in two forms, with grooved sulcate or smooth elytra. Males only ever have smooth elytra.
Dytiscus marginalis - the Great diving beetle
Compiled distribution map provided by [data resource not known]. Browse the list of datasets and find organisations you can join if you are interested in participating in a survey for species like Dytiscus marginalis Linnaeus, If you have images for this taxon that you would like to share with NBN Atlas, please upload using the upload tools. Online Resources. Compiled distribution map Compiled distribution map provided by [data resource not known]. Analyse data Interactive map View records.
It is widespread across the U. They occur in most still or slow-moving aquatic habitats and are common or even abundant where found, they will colonize small water bodies e. Adults occur year round; they spend the winter hibernating in the substrate at the bottom of ponds etc. Both the larvae and the adults are voracious predators, feeding on a wide range of aquatic life including newts and fish etc.