home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Hydrophilidae (water scavenger beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Polyphaga > Superfamily: Hydrophyloidea

Diverse group of mainly aquatic beetles although some species occupy terrestrial habitats. They range in size from minute (1 mm long) to large (50 mm). They are shiny (less water resistance), black or dark brown and are oval and convex to strongly convex. Adults have long maxillary palps. Fewer than 100 named species are known from South Africa but there are probably many undescribed species.

Larvae and adults are predatory while adults of some species scavenge on decaying organic matter. Terrestrial species live on decomposing vegetable matter and dung. Adults of some smaller species can be seen congregating on stones in the water.



Hydrophilus sp., 14mm. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].


 Page by Margie Cochrane