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The University of Southern Mississippi

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A larval Dytiscus sp. showing its large piercing mandibles.

 


Ecology of predaceous diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae)

Dytiscids ("predaceous diving beetles") are aquatic beetles consisting of about 4,000 species world-wide.  Both the larvae and adults occur within slow-moving or stagnant bodies of water, and adults can disperse up to several thousand meters.  Larvae (sometimes known as "Water Tigers") and adults all are predacious, making them an important component of the aquatic food webs in which they occur.  Even though these beetles are cosmopolitan and are likely important for the systems in which they reside, there is relatively little ecological knowledge about members of this group.

In the past, I have examined how dispersal in adult beetles is affected by habitat parameters and beetle densities (Yee et al. 2008), and how predation among larval dytiscids may be related to differences in larval behavior (Yee 2010). We continue to examine aspects of dytiscid ecology, including questions related to dispersal, their effects on non-beetles including mosquitoes, and in understanding community dynamics.

Current projects are examining how habitat parameters affect dytiscid communities and species, and in understanding the mechanisms that promote coexistence among species. We also are interested in the role of multiple predators in affecting prey in temporary aquatic environments.


Seen at the left is Kris Pitchers experimental set-up from one of his master's projects. Kris is trying to understand niche differentiation in Laccophilus faciatus rufus and L. proximus (Image below).

 

 

 

 


Laccophilus faciatus rufus and L. proximus (bottom and top, respectively)

 

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