Small Predaceous Diving Beetles – Dingy Divers

2012 September 22

These were caught in the pond in the woods on May 3, 2012. They were very active, fast-swimming beetles that tended to scoot around just under the surface.

They were about 5 mm long, and about the size and shape of the average lady beetle. They aren’t lady beetles, though. They are one of the smaller varieties of Predaceous Diving Beetles, probably in the genus Laccophilus. Specifically, they look like “Dingy Divers”, Laccophilus maculosus.

They were a bit clumsy on land, but still able to scoot along (and occasionally hop) with good speed.

Being on the small side, I expect them to mainly eat things like mosquito and black fly larvae. I therefore approve of these beetles wholeheartedly. Interestingly, the pond we found them in was rich in all sorts of the larger aquatic insects, but we didn’t see any mosquito wigglers. That may be just a coincidence, but I’m inclined to think there is a connection here.

5 Responses
  1. September 28, 2012

    These are adorable little “buttons” rather than bugs.

    I don’t think I could be afraid of them.

    You mention their eating habits as being rather worthwhile (“mosquito and black fly larvae) and I –too approve of them—for their good taste in providing us all some minor amelioration in blood sucking vermin (even though I have just met them, I am strangely fond of them already).
    Maybe I like them because I may have encountered light years ago when I was young and had just popped out the two boys and had (in many fits of irrational mothering) taken them to the waters of life and death near our home.
    I took the boys to the mud puddle near Fort Edmonton Park because I wanted them to learn nature from babyhood.
    The boys liked to learn nature in an intimate fashion by collecting bugs.
    These bugs look similar to the many beetles my boys were prone to evicting from the waters of the John Janzen Nature center mud puddle that I speak of.

    This mucky pond used to be very natural and perfect for two young toddlers to fall into and get used to mud pails in nature. Now they have made it all perfect and I can’t go there any more. Besides the boys have become teenagers and do not want to be seen in the company of a decrepit mother holding butterfly nets and plastic pails collecting mud water. Sigh. How time vanishes and all is left are memories of mud, bugs and toddlers drowning.

    But the beetles. I really think they are charming. They have such shiny carapaces (are they naturally shiny or where you shining a flashlight on them and frisking them for contraband bugs?).

    They seem demure and rather Pokemon cute in their essential dimensions and yet do not emit noxious scents (you didn’t say they did), do not have spider-like creepy legs in multiple grotesque arrays and seem to be unable to leap for the jugular vein of a hiker or even bite out a hunk of flesh like a horsefly.

    They are very sweet. Rather like babies before they become teenagers. I can’t see them fitting that title you have given them of “predaceous” as they seem more like sap suckers or small meditative chewers of leaves. But there you go. Predaceous they are.

  2. September 29, 2012

    Julie: I agree that they are very cute. They are naturally shiny, and they don’t give off any unpleasant smells.

    I also have many fond memories of rummaging in the mud in ponds and streams, and hopefully my daughters will as well.

  3. Tasha permalink
    October 3, 2019

    So my boys an I just found 1 of these in a large mud puddle in our yard. Although the 1 we found is quite big. I’d say almost 2″. Certainly bigger then a lady bug. How big can these fascinating bugs get?

  4. October 3, 2019

    These are some of the smallest predaceous diving beetles. I also have pictures of one of the larger species, which can be the size of June beetles (well over an inch long)

  5. Dr. Somnath Bhakat permalink
    October 30, 2020

    yesterday I observed a few small beetles (2mm) in a muddy small water body with more than 200 skipper frogs and other insect like Laccotrephes, Dytiscus etc. Under microscope it seems to be Laccophilus with black shiny elytra and legs with long hairs.

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