Aquatic Insects of Michigan

by Ethan Bright, Museum of Zoology Insect Division and School of Natural Resources and Environment
University of Michigan

Toggle Menu

Haliplidae (Crawling Water Beetles) of Michigan


Photos of adult and larva of Brychius hungerfordi (Copyright © 2006 Ethan Bright)

These are small (<5 mm length) water beetles characterized in the adult form by expanded coxal plates that function as an extension to store air under the elytra (plastron respiration). Although adults have modified tarsi and tibiae for swimming, they are characterized as cumbersome swimmers and are often found clambering on vegetation. Though mostly algivores, the diet of both larva and adult stages is facultatively omnivorous. Eggs are laid on algal food sources, and the three larval stages occur in water. Pupation occurs adjacent to aquatic habitats, with adults emerging to disperse into aquatic habitats. Useful summaries of haliplid biology are given by Matheson (1912), Hickman (1929, 1930) and Roughley (2000).

Of the approximately 220 described species in all major zoogeographic regions (Nilsson & van Vondel 2005), 20 species in 3 genera have been documented from Michigan, with another 7 occurring nearby based on regional records. Species of Haliplus occur most frequently in ponds and lake margins, and sometimes along slow-moving stream margins, and those of Peltodytes more frequently along stream edges and vegetated banks. The habitat of the endangered species Brychius hungerfordi, known only from a handful of scattered populations in Michigan and Ontario, is restricted to shallow erosional zones of coldwater streams (Strand and Spangler 1994, Mousseau and Rougley 2007). A species identified as Haliplus ruficollis (DeGeer, 1774: 404) from Michigan in the UMMZ collection is probably a misidentification, as this is a Palaearctic species.

Genera are donoted in bold green; species denoted in bold blue have been recorded in Michigan; other species denoted in bold are likely to occur based on their known distribution. You can use the Find function in your web browser to locate families, genera, and species. Synonomous species (indented) are listed below the current valid species (denoted in bold) with its taxonomic status indicated.

Haliplidae Aubé, 1836: 14

    Brychius Thompson 1859: 11
      Brychius hungerfordi Spangler, 1954: 114 - Endangered Species (collection in the USA illegal without a U.S. federal permit) Spangler 1954; Strand and Spangler 1994; Legge 1997; USFWS 2010; UMMZ
    Haliplus Latreille 1802: 77
      Haliplius (Liaphlus) apostolicus Wallis, 1933: 46 - MN, WI
      Haliplus (Haliplus) blanchardi Roberts, 1913: 108 - UMMZ
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) borealis LeConte, 1850: 212 - NMNH (web page database)
      Haliplus (Liaphlus) canadensis Wallis, 1933: 51 - UMMZ
      Haliplus (Liaphlus) connexus Matheson, 1912: 164 - UMMZ
      Haliplus (Liaphlus) cribrarius LeConte, 1850: 212 - Hickman 1929: 414-418; Downie and Arnett 1996
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) fasciatus Aubé, 1838: 30 - Downie and Arnett 1996
      Haliplus (Liaphlus) fulvus (Fabricius, 1801: 271 as Dytiscus) - UMMZ, record at Albertson College of Idaho Collection (as H. subguttatus), ON, BC-MA/NS, widespread north (Roughley 1991)
        (syn.) Dytiscus interpunctatus Marsham, 1802: 429
        (syn.) Haliplus fulvus var. carlittensis Régimbart, 1901: 323
        (syn.) Haliplus lapponum Thomson, 1856: 184
        (syn.) Haliplus lapponum var. niger Seidlitz, 1887: 31
        (syn.) Haliplus pyraeneus Delarouzée, 1857: 95
        (syn.) Haliplus subguttatus Roberts, 1913: 100
        (syn.) Haliplus salinarius Wallis, 1933: 556
        (syn.) Haliplus sparreschneideri Munster, 1922: 15
        (syn.) Haliplus unicolor Fiori, 1914: 188
        (syn.) Haliplus fulvus var. unicolor Munster, 1922:14
      Haliplus (Haliplus) immaculicollis Harris, 1828: 164 - Hickman 1929: 409-414; UMMZ; Merritt et al. 2002: 155
        (syn.) Haliplus americanus Aubé, 1838: 21
        (syn.) Haliplus pallidus Roberts, 1913: 109
        (syn.) Haliplus robertsi Zimmermann, 1924: 73
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) leopardus Roberts, 1913: 98 - IL, IN, OH, WI
      Haliplus (Haliplus) longulus LeConte, 1850: 211 - UMMZ
        (syn.) Haliplus hoppingi Wallis, 1933: 13
      Haliplus (Liaphlus) nitens LeConte, 1850: 212 - Vondel 2015
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) ohioensis Wallis, 1933: 27 - IL, IN, OH
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) pantherinus Aubé, 1838: 29 - Downie and Arnett 1996
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) tortilipenis Brigham and Sanderson, 1972: 18 - IL (Cook Co.), MN, WI
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) triopsis Say, 1823: 106 - Hickman 1929: 418-421; UMMZ
      Haliplus (Paraliaphlus) variomaculatus Brigham and Sanderson, 1973: 157 - IL (Vermillion Co.), may be found in sw. LP

    Peltodytes Régimbart 1879: 450
      Peltodytes (Neopeltodytes) edentulus (LeConte, 1863: 21 as Cnemidotus) - Hickman 1929: 408-409; UMMZ, NMNH (web page database)
      Peltodytes (Neopeltodytes) duodecimpunctatus (Say, 1823: 106 as Haliplus) - Vondel 2015
      Peltodytes (Neopeltodytes) lengi Roberts, 1913: 119 - Hickman 1929: 400-407; Downie and Arnett 1996
      Peltodytes (Neopeltodytes) muticus (LeConte, 1863: 21 as Cnemidotus) - UMMZ
      Peltodytes (Neopeltodytes) pedunculatus (Blatchley, 1910: 204 as Cnemidotus) - Downie and Arnett 1996 - NMNH (web page database)
      Peltodytes (Neopeltodytes) sexmaculatus Roberts, 1913: 117 - Hickman 1929: 407-408; Downie and Arnett 1996
      Peltodytes (Neopeltodytes) tortulosus Roberts, 1913: 118 - Downie and Arnett 1996
        (syn.) Peltodytes obesus Peschet, 1923

    References - Taxonomic and Distribution

      Aubé C. 1836-1838. Hydrocanthares, in Dejean PF. (ed.), Iconographie et histoire naturelle des coléoptères d’Europe. Volume V. Méquignon-Marvis, Paris. xi + 416 pp + 46 pls. [Pp. 1-64 (1836), 65-224 (1837), 225-416 (1838).] VIEW.
      Blatchley WS. 1910. An illustrated descriptive catalogue of the Coleoptera or beetles (exclusive of the Rhynchophoral known to occur in Indiana with bibliography and descriptions of new species. Bulletin no. 1 Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources. Indianapolis, Indiana, 1386 pp., illus. Reprinted by Nature Publishing Co. in 1910. VIEW.
      Brigham WU, Sanderson MW 1972. A new species of Haliplus from Illinois and South Dakota. Transactions of the Illinois Academy of Science 65: 17-22. (PDF)
      Brigham WU, Sanderson MW. 1973. Haliplus variomaculatus, a new species from east-central Illinois (Coleoptera: Haliplidae). The Coleopterists Bulletin 27(4): 157-163.
      DeGeer Memoires IV
      Delarouzée C. 1857. Bulletin entomologique 3e Trimestre 1857. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 5: xciv-xcv.
      Downie NM, Arnett RH. 1996. The beetles of Northeastern North America. Volume I. Introduction; Suborders Archostemata, Adephaga, and Polyphaga, thru Superfamily Cantharoidea. The Sandhill Crane Press: Gainesville, Florida. xiv + 880 pp.
      Fabricius JC. 1801. Systema Eleutheratorum secundum ordines, genera, species; adiectis synonymis, locis, observationibus, descriptionibus. Vol. 1. Bibliopolii Academici Novi, Kiliae. xxiv + 506 pp.
      Fiori A. 1914. Appunti sulla fauna coleotterologica dell’Italia meridionale e della Sicilia, Adephaga. Rivista Coleotterologica Italiana 12:166-191.
      Harris TW. 1828. Contributions to entomology. No. VI. – New England Farmer 7: 164.
      Hickman JR. 1929(1930). Life-histories of Michigan Haliplidae (Coleoptera). Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters 11: 399-424, 9 pls.
      Hickman JR. 1931. Contribution to the biology of the Haliplidae (Coleoptera). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 24: 129-142.
      Holser B. 2010. Hungerford’s crawling water beetle (Brychius hungerfordi). 5-Year Review. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, East Lansing Field Office East Lansing, Michigan. 75 FR 55820 (September 14, 2010). VIEW.
      Latreille PA. 1802. Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière des Crustacés et des Insectes. Familles naturelles et genres. Volume 3. F. Dufart, Paris. xii + 468 pp. (VIEW)
      LeConte JL. 1850. General remarks upon the Coleoptera of Lake Superior, pp. 201-242 + pl. 8 in Agassiz JLR, Cabot JE (eds.), Lake Superior: Its physical character, vegetation and animals. Gould, Kendall & Lincoln, Boston. x + 428 pp. + 8 pls. (PDF)
      LeConte J L. 1863. New species of North American Coleoptera, Part 1. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 6 (167) : 1-86. (PDF)
      Legge J. 1997. 1996 Michigan surveys for the Hungerford's crawling water beetle. Newsletter of the Michigan Entomological Society 42(1): 1.
      Marsham T. 1802. Entomologia Britannica : sistens insecta Britanniae indigena, secundum methodum Linnaenam disposita. Tomus I. Coleoptera. Londini: White, xxxi + 548 p. (PDF)
      Matheson R. 1912. The Haliplidae of North America, north of Mexico. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 20: 156-192, 7 pls. (PDF)
      Munster T. 1922. Om nogle Haliplidae. Videnskapsselskapets Skrifter. I. Naturvidenskabeliger Klasse 9: 3-15. VIEW.
      Mousseau T, Roughley RE. 2007. Taxonomy, classification, reconstructed phylogeny and biogeography of Nearctic species of Brychius Thomson (Coleoptera: Haliplidae). The Coleopterists Bulletin 61(3): 351-397.
      Régimbart M. 1878. Étude sur la classification des Dytiscidae. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 8: 447–451. (VIEW)
      Roberts CH. 1913. Critical notes on the species of Haliplidae of America north of Mexico with descriptions of new species. Journal of the New York Entomological Society 21(2): 91-123. (PDF)
      Roughley RE. 1991. Family Haliplidae, crawling water beetles, pp. 60–61 in Bousquet Y (ed.), Checklist of Beetles of Canada and Alaska. Agriculture Canada Publication, 1861/E. Ottawa, Ontario. vi + 430 pp.
      Roughley RE. 2000. Haliplidae Aubé, 1836, pp. 138-143 in Arnett RH, Jr., Thomas MC (eds.), American Beetles, Volume I: Archostemata, Myxophaga, Adephaga, Polyphaga: Staphyliniformia. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. 464 pp.
      Say T. 1823. Descriptions of insects of the families of Carabici and Hydrocanthari of Latreille, inhabiting North America. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series 2(1825)(1): 1-109. (PDF)
      Seidlitz G. 1887. Bestimmungs-Tabelle der Dytiscidae und Gyrinidae des europäischen Faunengebietes. Verhandlungen des Naturforschenden Vereines in Brünn 25(1886): 3-136. (PDF)
      Spanger PJ. 1954. A new species of water beetle from Michigan (Coleoptera: Haliplidae). Entomological News 65:113-117. (PDF)
      Strand RM, Spanger PJ. 1994. The natural history, distribution, and larval description of Brychius hungerfordi Spangler (Coleoptera: Haliplidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 96(2): 208-213.
      Thomson CG. 1856. Öfversigt af de arter inom familjen Dytisci, som blifvit anträffade pa Skandinaviska halfön. Kongliga Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademiens Handlingar 12(1854): 181-237. VIEW.
      Thomson CG. 1859. Skandinaviens Coleoptera, synoptiskt bearbetade. Tome I. Berlingska Boktryckeriet, Lund. [5] + 290 pp. VIEW.
      Vondel B, van. 2015. June 22, 2015, World checklist of freshwater Coleoptera: Haliplidae species. World Wide Web electronic publication. Available online at [accessed 16-June-2020]
      Wallis JB. 1933. Revision of the North American species (North of Mexico), of the genus Haliplus, Latreille. Transactions of the Royal Canadian Institute 19: 1-76.
      Zimmermann A. 1924. Die Halipliden der Welt. Entomologische Blätter (für Biologie und Systematik der Käfer) 20 (1): 1-16; (2): 65-80; (3): 129-144; (4): 193-213.

    Page created: November 01, 2002; Last update June 21, 2020 (EB)