Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

See Moth submissions from National Moth Week 2023

Photos of insects and people from the 2022 BugGuide gathering in New Mexico, July 20-24

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Photos of insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Previous events


Family Hydrophilidae - Water Scavenger Beetles

Water Scavenger Beetle - Hydrophilus triangularis Bug (deceased) - Hydrophilus triangularis In the water - Tropisternus columbianus 1217 - Laccobius Cercyon analis Hydrophilidae ? - Hydrophilus ovatus Hydrochara - Tropisternus Berosus infuscatus - male
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
No Taxon (Series Staphyliniformia)
Superfamily Hydrophiloidea
Family Hydrophilidae (Water Scavenger Beetles)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Helophoridae, Hydrochidae, Spercheidae, Epimetopidae and Georissidae were formerly subfamilies of Hydrophilidae(1)
Explanation of Names
Hydrophilidae Latreille 1802
~260 spp. in 35 genera in our area(2), ~3400 spp. in ~200 genera worldwide(3) (numbers include Hydrophiloidea families formerly included in Hydrophilidae)
Overview of our faunaadapted from Short & Fikacek (2013)(1); taxa not yet in the guide are marked (*)
Family Hydrophilidae
Subfamily Acidocerinae
Tribe Acidocerini Helobata · Helochares · Novochares
Subfamily Chaetarthriinae
Tribe Chaetarthrini Chaetarthria
Subfamily Enochrinae
Tribe Enochrini Cymbiodyta · Enochrus
Subfamily Hydrophilinae
Subfamily Sphaeridiinae
Tribe *Omicrini *Omicrus
Tribe Sphaeridiini Sphaeridium
1-40 mm(2) (exotic spp. up to 50 mm)
Aquatic forms may superficially resemble Dytiscidae but can be easily distinguished by antennae. Many have keeled sterna. The adults come up for air head first, and move hind legs alternately (Dytiscidae come up for air tail first and move hind legs together, like oars)
keys in(4)(5)(6)(7)(8)
Mostly aquatic; Sphaeridiinae are terrestrial (in dung, compost, carrion, and other decaying organic matter). Habitats discussed in detail in(10)
Some adults are scavengers and feed on dead plant and animal material, others are predatory. Larvae often predatory. Some terrestrial species feed on various decaying matter and associated maggots.
See Also
Internet References
Works Cited
1.Molecular phylogeny, evolution, and classification of the Hydrophilidae (Coleoptera).
Short A.E.Z. & Fikacek M. 2013. Systematic Entomology 38: 723-​752.
2.American Beetles, Volume I: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia
Arnett, R.H., Jr., and M. C. Thomas. (eds.). 2000. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.
3.Order Coleoptera Linnaeus, 1758. In: Zhang Z.-Q. (ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification...
Ślipiński S.A., Leschen R.A.B., Lawrence J.F. 2011. Zootaxa 3148: 203–208.
4.Review of the Family Hydrophilidae of Canada and Alaska
Ales Smetana. 1988. Entomological Society of Canada.
5.Clifford H.F. (1991) Aquatic invertebrates of Alberta
6.Water Beetles of South Carolina
Janet Ciegler. 2003. Clemson University.
7.Aquatic Insects of North America
R. W. Merritt, K. W. Cummins, M.B. Berg. 2008. Kendall/Hunt.
8.The Water Beetles of Florida
Epler J.H. 2010. Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Tallahassee. 414 pp.
9.Florida Association of Benthologists website
10.Short A.E.Z. (2007)
11.MacGown J.A. (2010) Aquatic Hydrophilidae of Mississippi