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Waterbeetle, Laccophilus sp.? - Laccophilus pictus

Waterbeetle, Laccophilus sp.? - Laccophilus pictus
Sabino Canyon, Pima County, Arizona, USA
August 28, 2009
Size: ca 5 mm

Moved from Laccophilus pictus.

Moved from Laccophilus.

Moved from ID Request.

Must be Laccophilus, most likely L. pictus, one of the 2 polka-dot species, both in your area I think. Will check the refs to be sure.

The pictus in the guide
is not polka-dotted - does it need a 'reality check'?
actually if you look at Alex Wilde's L. picta
- that's a different beetle from the one in the guide and from mine. I've seen that one but couldn't catch it - it is much bigger than this one.

Existing images= L .pictus ssp. insignis
I emailed the links to Mike Quinn who then forwarded it to an expert. Apparently there are a few subspecies that vary considerably in colour pattern.

The 2nd species...
has a similar polka-dot pattern but is smaller-less than 5 mm long. I don't remember the name on top of my head at the moment. Apparently the pattern on your beetle is most similar to the one on Alex's site. There might be some slight genetic variation in polka dot pattern between individuals.
As for the existing images in the guide, it still intrigues me. It keyed out to the couplet with these 2 species (having a solid elytral colour pattern with little or no freckling/irrorations). I initially thought it was an intraspecific variation in colour pattern but at the same time, being relatively unfamiliar with southwestern dyts, I am unsure whether the pattern varies to that extent.
The other possibility, which does not surprise me, is that the specimen currently under 'pictus' in the guide is a stray individual of a Mexican/neotropical species not covered in refs that I'm using, given the far southern locality. If you know of any dytiscid expert in your area that is more familiar with the southern fauna, might be best to let him/her to have a look at it. I am very curious to know what this is! I will move the existing images to genus level for now.

Thank you as always, Tim,
for your thorough follow up! There must have been hundreds of the little polka-dotted guys in the sadly shrunken puddles at Sabino Canyon.

Now I wished Mike's expert would also tell us what my other two Laccophilus spp were! But I guess the problem was my photo quality, and they aren't easy to shoot

I wished I was there...
would like some southwestern dyts to brighten up my dull southern Alberta collection someday.

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