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The Predaceous Diving Beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) of Papua Indonesia

by Michael Balke



Dytiscidae are the predaceous diving beetles, a family of water beetles. They are about 25 mm long on average, though there is much variation between species. Most are dark brown, blackish or dark olive in color with golden highlights in some subfamilies. They have short, but sharp mandibles. Immediately upon biting they deliver digestive enzymes. The larvae are commonly known as water tigers. The family has not been comprehensively cataloged since 1920, but is estimated to include about 4,000 species in over 160 genera.

Larvae vary in size from about 1 to 5 cm. The larvae's bodies are shaped like crescents, with the tail long and covered with thin hairs. Six legs protrude from along the belly, which also sports the same thin hairs. The head is flat and square, with a pair of long, large pincers. When hunting, they cling to grasses or pieces of wood along the bottom, and hold perfectly still until prey passes by, then they lunge, trapping their soon-to-be-food between their front legs and biting down with its pincers. Their usual prey includes tadpoles and glassworms, among dozens of other smaller water-dwelling creatures.

As soon as the beetles come to the stage in life in which they mature to adulthood, the larva crawl from the water on the sturdy legs, and bury themselves in the mud for pupation. After about a week, or longer in some species, they emerge from the mud as adults. Large but slow on land and not particularly fierce as adults, they are also eaten with relish by many mid-sized birds, mammals and other larger predators. The larvae are usually safer, due to their camouflage and ability to escape by water jet; they can be quite hard to catch and may become apex predators in small ponds.

see Wikipedia for more information

Listed Papua species (with certainty): 48 [species endemic for Papua are not defined yet]

grey coloured taxa are found in Papua New Guinea or known from "New Guinea" but are not confirmed from Papua Indonesia yet



Tribus Copelatini

Copelatus Erichson, 1832
Sg. Copelatus Erichson, 1832

biroi Guignot, 1956

gentilis Sharp, 1882

gestroi Régimbart, 1892

neoguinensis Zimmermann, 1919

irregularis MacLeay, 1825

kaszabi Guignot, 1956

luteomaculatus Guignot, 1956

papuensis Balfour-Browne, 1939

portior Guignot, 1956

tulagicus Guignot, 1942
apicalis Balfour-Browne, 1939

vagestriatus Zimmermann, 1919

xanthocephalus Régimbart, 1899

Exocelina Balke, 1998

aipo Balke, 1998

aipomek Balke, 1998

ascendens Balke, 1998

astrophallus Balke, 1998

atratus Balfour-Browne, 1939

casuarinus Balke, 1998

bacchusi Balke, 1998

broschii Balke, 1998

damantiensis Balke, 1998

danae Balke, 1998

desii Balke, 1999

erteldi Balke, 1998

formosus Balke, 1998

fume Balke, 1998

heidiae Balke, 1998

inornatus Balke, 1998

jaseminae Balke, 1998

karmurensis Balke, 1998

ketembang Balke, 1998

larsoni Balke, 1998

manfredi Balke, 1998

me Balke, 1998

messeri Balke, 1999

miriae Balke, 1998

monae Balke, 1998

nomax Balfour-Browne, 1939

patepensis Balke, 1998

politus Sharp, 1882

rivulus Balke, 1998

rufus Balke, 1998

sanctimontis Balke, 1998

speciosus Balke, 1998

takime Balke, 1998

talaki Balke, 1998

tarmluensis Balke, 1998

ullrichi Balke, 1998


Tribus Hyphydrini

Hyphydrus Illiger, 1802

bistrimaculatus Biström & Biström, 1997

dani Biström, Balke & Hendrich, 1993

decemmaculatus Wehncke, 1877
curvipes Régimbart, 1892

elegans (Montrouzier, 1860)
gibbicollis Régimbart, 1892

gibbosus Biström, 1984

loriae Régimbart, 1892

lyratus Swartz, 1808

Tribus Hydrovatini

Hydrovatus Motschulsky, 1853

enigmaticus Biström, 1996

fasciatus Sharp, 1882

fractus Sharp, 1882

laosensis Biström, 1996

opacus Sharp, 1882

nigrita Sharp, 1882

irianensis Biström, 1996

samuelsoni Biström, 1996

Tribus Bidessini

Clypeodytes Régimbart, 1894

loriae (Régimbart, 1892)

Hydroglyphus Motschulsky, 1853

baeri (Régimbart, 1895)

Limbodessus Guignot, 1939

compactus (Clark, 1862)
neoguinensis Régimbart, 1892

Tribus Hydroporini

Chostonectes Sharp, 1882

maai Balke, 1995

Megaporus Brinck, 1943

piceatus (Régimbart, 1892)

Sternopriscus Sharp, 1882
hansardi (Clark, 1862)


Tribus Laccophilini

Laccophilus Leach, 1815

bapak Balke, Larson & Hendrich, 1996

cingulatus Sharp, 1882

clarki Sharp, 1882

ekari Balke, Larson & Hendrich, 1996

heidiae Brancucci, 1983

papuanus Balke, Larson & Hendrich, 1996

quadrimaculatus Sharp, 1882 sensu lato

ramuensis Balke, Larson & Hendrich, 1996

schereri Brancucci, 1983

seminiger Fauvel, 1883
auriculatus Régimbart, 1892

transversalis Régimbart, 1877

univittatus Régimbart, 1891

Philaccolilus Guignot, 1937

ameliae Balke et al., 2000
ssp. ameliae Balke et al., 2000
ssp. weylandensis Balke et al., 2000

aterrimus Balke et al., 2000

bacchusi Balke et al., 2000

bellissimus Balke et al., 2000

bicinctus (Régimbart, 1892)

irianensisi Balke et al., 2000

incognitus Balke et al., 2000

mas Balke et al., 2000

mekus Balke et al., 2000

kokodanus Balke et al., 2000

ramuensis Balke et al., 2000

speciosus (Régimbart, 1892)


Tribus Agabini

Platynectes Régimbart, 1878

beroni Guéorguiev, 1978

decastigma Régimbart, 1899

decempunctatus (Fabricius, 1775)

octodemimmaculatus (MacLeay, 1825)

neoguinensis Guéorguiev & Rocchi, 1993

semperi Régimbart, 1899

Tribus Colymbetini

Carabdytes Balke, Hendrich & Wewalka, 1992

upin Balke, Hendrich & Wewalka, 1992

Rhantus Dejean, 1833

anggi Balke 2001

bacchusi Balke et al., 2000

dani Balke et al., 2000

ekari Balke & Hendrich, 1992

kakapupu Balke et al., 2000

papuanus Balfour-Browne, 1939

riedeli Balke et al., 2000

supranubicus Balke et al., 2000

suturalis (MacLeay, 1825)
neoguinensis Guéorguiev & Rocchi, 1993


Tribus Eretini

Eretes Laporte, 1833

sticticus (L., 1767)

Tribus Hydaticini

Hydaticus Leach, 1817

okalehubyi Balke & Hendrich, 1992

quadrivittaus Blanchard, 1853

rhantaticoides Régimbart, 1892

rivanolis Wewalka, 1979

sellatus Régimbart, 1883

suffusus Régimbart, 1892

Tribus Acilini

Rhantaticus Sharp, 1882

congestus (Klug, 1832)

Sandracottus Sharp, 1882

guerini Balfour-Browne, 1939
flavocinctus Guérin,1836, nom. praeocc.
femoralis Heller, 1934 nom. praeocc.

Tribus Cybistrini

Homoeodytes Régimbart, 1878

atratus (Fabricius, 1801)

gibbosus Wilke, 1919

Cybister Curtis, 1827

godeffroyi Wehncke, 1876

hypomelas Régimbart, 1892

kolbei Wilke, 1919 n.comb.

loxidiscus Wilke, 1919

papuanus Guignot, 1956

tripunctatus (Olivier, 1795)

sugillatus Erichson, 1834

yulensis Guignot, 1956

last updated on 24th December 2010


Balke M. 2000. Die Schwimmkäfer Neu Guineas. Artenreichtum, Phylogenie, Biogeographie und Lebensweise (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae)., Berlin, Germany.