Predaceous Diving Beetle

Rhantus gutticolis

Rhantus gutticollis, Dytiscidae, photo © by Mike Plagens

Found flying in the desert very far from water near Ajo, Pima Co., Arizona. 11 March 2016.

Dytiscidae -- Diving Beetle Family

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Many predacious diving beetle species make use of temporary pools of water that might form in a canyon bottom for example. After periods of rain these habitats become highly productive and then finally as drought returns they dry up leaving cracked mud and dust. The streamlined morphology of Dytiscidae allows for fast and efficient movement through water in pursuit of insect and vertebrate prey. They are important predators of tadpoles and mosquito larvae. To find such habitats or to abandon them as they dry Rhantus beetles can open their shell-like first pair of wings to reveal and unfold membranous wings for flight. The specimen shown here was found many, many kilometers from any water source! It crash-landed onto my shiny automobile after mistaking it for a water body.

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created updated 26 June 2016.