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Biology

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Eggs are laid in spring or early summer, and the larvae are often found from May to July, floating just below the surface. Adults are herbivores and feed on decaying plant matter, but the larvae are carnivores, and feed on water snails. The adult beetles emerge during the summer and hibernate, but it is not clear whether this occurs in the water or on land. The beetles are attracted to light, and are good fliers.
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Conservation

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The lesser silver water beetle is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plans, and has been included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. As well as the UK action plans, this species is listed in at least two Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs) including Cheshire's 'Countdown' project and the Mendip Biodiversity Action Plan. Ponds on the Cheshire Plain have been subjects of the Pond Life Survey since 1995, and there is a comprehensive survey under way to establish the true status of the species in the county. Surveys for this species were also undertaken in 1993 and 1994 on the Somerset Moors, and the management of many of the beetles breeding ditches is now based on the conservation of this species. In the future, it is hoped that suitable breeding habitat for the beetles will be created by flooding wet woodland, producing shallow areas of water at the start of the beetles breeding season.
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Description

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This beetle earns the name 'silver' from the bubbles of air that are trapped in the fine hairs on its underside. These hairs form part of an elaborate breathing system, enabling these beetles to live underwater. The beetles' 'true' colour is shiny, polished black. They have well-developed 'palps', sensitive mouthparts, which act as preliminary tasters for food. Unlike the diving beetles, Dytiscidae, the silver water beetles are not particularly adapted for underwater life. They are poor swimmers, without the modified legs of diving beetles, and take air from the surface headfirst, rather than with the tip of the abdomen like many other water beetles.
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Habitat

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The adult lesser silver water beetle is found in still, weedy ditches and ponds in peat-rich areas. It seems to prefer deep water where there is little chance for the peat to dry out, and places subject to piecemeal disturbance. Recent research, however, suggests that the eggs and larvae are found in shallow, often temporary, ditches with overhanging tree cover.
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Range

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This species is known only from the UK, and was widely distributed during the 19th century. However, since 1970, it had only been recorded in eleven 10km squares, with the only known breeding population in the Somerset Levels. Then, in 1990, an adult beetle was found in a pond in Cheshire. Since then, larvae have been found in several other ponds in the county as well as former sites on the Somerset Levels.
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Status

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Classified as Endangered (UK), and protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.
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Threats

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It is believed the principal threats to the lesser silver water beetle is from inappropriate ditch management, and the loss of grazing marsh leading to re-profiling of the ditches.
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Lesser silver water beetle

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The examples and perspective in this UK may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. You may improve this article, discuss the issue on the talk page, or create a new article, as appropriate. (December 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The lesser silver water beetle (Hydrochara caraboides) is a species of water scavenger beetle (family Hydrophilidae).

Description

The beetle is about 15 millimetres (0.6 in) long and, despite the name, is actually black in color. It traps air with the hairs on the underside of its body in order to breathe below water, and it is this silver looking bubble of air that gives the beetle its name.[1]

Distribution

H. caraboides has a wide distribution across Europe.[2] In the United Kingdom, it is only found in the Somerset Levels, Cheshire and north-east Wales. It is classified as an endangered species, protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.[1]

The northern population cluster currently consists of around 45 breeding pools, several being ditches, most of which have a floating raft of densely matted vegetation at their centre, and an area of shallow open water containing isolated stands of emergent vegetation. The effect from cattle poaching is considered crucial for the beetle's ability to breed successfully at these water bodies.

References

  1. ^ a b "Lesser silver water beetle (Hydrochara caraboides)". ARKive. Retrieved September 1, 2010..mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"""""'"'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/65/Lock-green.svg/9px-Lock-green.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d6/Lock-gray-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-gray-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/Lock-red-alt-2.svg/9px-Lock-red-alt-2.svg.png")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}
  2. ^ "Hydrochara caraboides (Linnaeus 1758)". Fauna Europaea. Retrieved September 1, 2010.

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Lesser silver water beetle: Brief Summary

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The lesser silver water beetle (Hydrochara caraboides) is a species of water scavenger beetle (family Hydrophilidae).

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