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  • water beetles
  • water beetles
  • water beetles

Water beetles atlas

Smaller families of Polyphaga

This Water beetles Atlas covers 85 species in five main families. These are Hydraenidae (minute moss beetles), Elmidae (riffle beetles), Heteroceridae (variegated mud-loving beetles), Scirtidae (marsh beetles and Dryopidae (long-toed water beetles). In addition the Atlas includes a small number of other wetland species.

This atlas complements two earlier volumes on the water beetles. Coverage extends to all of Britain and Ireland, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. The distribution maps split records into three time periods: pre-1980, 1980-1999 and 2000 onwards. But this volume is not just a set of maps. Rather the authors have also highlighted current gaps in knowledge. Each species account discusses life-cycle, habitats and taxonomy. Where possible genetic information is outlined, although information on karotypes is currently still patchy. There are colour photographs throughout. Since many species are difficult to identify, the authors have given common identification mistakes. There is also a table of threat and rarity status by species.

Many of these water beetles are small in size. Undoubtedly there are fewer charismatic species than among other groups, like the whirligigs and the diving beetles. However both Hydraenidae and Elmidae are significant as indicators of running water quality. Other species, particularly in the Dryopidae, are confined to relict sites. Relatively few species are common and widespread.

The present recording scheme began in 1979. This atlas draws on over 79000 records. In detail these are 20000 records of Hydraenidae, 4500 Dryopidae, 42100 Elmidae, 1700 Heteroceridae and 10700 Scirtidae. Support comes from Biological Records Centre, National Biodiversity Data Centre and CEDaR.