Entomological Society of America Section Symposium

An Inordinate Neglect of Dytiscids: International Endeavors to Understand the Behavior, Ecology, and Systematics of Predaceous Diving Beetles

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

1:00 - 5:00 pm, Sunset room

Town and Country Hotel and Convention Center, San Diego, California

Organized by Don Yee, University of Southern Mississippi

UPDATE: The symposium was a great success and I was very pleased with the turn out, but more importantly it was great to meet all the participants. I have posted a couple photos (below). Check back soon to see updates about this group.

Don Yee (left) giving the introduction to the symposium.

Some of the dytiscid participants, from left to right,Patrick Crumrine, Siegfried Kehl, Shin-ya Obha, Kris Pitcher (Back row). Don Yee and Lauren Culler (front row)

Predaceous diving beetles (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) are a widely distributed relatively moderately sized group of beetles (4,000 species).  Dytiscids adults and larvae occur in a variety of aquatic habitats and are significant predators on other aquatic invertebrates and vertebrates.  This fact that dytiscids prey on medically important mosquito larvae makes them a focus of concern for efforts to improve public health.  As top predators, dytiscids may also serve as indicators of water quality, making them an important measure of ecosystem health.  Although this group is largely ubiquitous, there are relatively few investigators who focus on the basic biology of dytiscids, and still fewer that have used dytiscids as model organisms for investigations of fundamental principles derived from ecological and evolutionary theory.  This especially is true for dytiscid larvae, which are affected by interactions with other invertebrate species, and by the physical properties of their aquatic environment.  Ecological interactions with other predators and prey are not fully understood, although the ways that dytiscids affect or are affected by these interactions can be critical to understanding food webs of many types of aquatic systems.  In this symposium, we will focus on some basic concepts of dytiscid biology, with examinations on their behavior, ecology, and systematics. 

Please plan to join us at the 2010 Entomological Society of America Meeting in San Diego, California, USA on Tuesday, 12 December 2010 for this symposium. Below are the presenters, along wtih some information about their work and links to recent papers on dytiscids.

Questions? Contact Don here: donald(dot)yee(at)usm(dot)edu



Donald Yee, Ph.D.

University of Southern Mississippi, USA


Yee 2010

Yee et al. 2009

I started studying dytiscids during my post doctoral position under Steve Vamosi at the University of Calgary. I've continued working with this amazing group of beetles and current projects in my lab 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 species rich dytiscid communities in affecting prey (especially mosquitoes) in temporary aquatic environments.

Visit Don's homepage here


Yves Alarie, Ph.D.

Laurentian University, Canada

Alarie et al. 2009a

Alarie et al. 2009b

I am studying the patterns by which Hydradephaga evolved worldwide. More specifically my research aims at defining the larval groundplan of the families of Hydradephaga and at refining the existing classifications using larval morpho-anatomical characters as new data set.

Visit Yves's homepage here


Lauren Culler, Ph.D. (in progress)

Dartmouth College, USA

Culler and Lamp 2009

I study how environmental factors, specifically temperature and hydroperiod, affect the distribution of dytiscids and interactions between dytiscids and their prey.  I am particularly interested in systems that are linked to humans, and have worked in restored agricultural wetlands on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and recently deglaciated ponds in Arctic Greenland.

Visit Lauren's advisor's homepage here

Kelly Miller, Ph.D.

University of New Mexico, USA

Miller et al. 2009

Miller and Spangler 2008

I work extensively at the alpha-taxonomic level revising genera and species groups, and I also conduct higher-taxonomic phylogenetic work using cladistic analyses of morphological and molecular data to improve classifications and examine evolutionary scenarios.

Visit Kelly's homepage here




Johannes Bergsten, Ph.D.

Swedish Museum of Natural History, Sweden

Bergsten and Miller 2007

Bergsten and Miller 2006

My research on Dytiscids has involved testing hypotheses on the evolution of male tarsal suction cups and female dorsal modifications under a sexual conflict antagonistic arms-race scenario. Recently I have started a long-term project on the Hydradephagan fauna of Madagascar involving inventories, revisions, phylogenetic hypothesis, deducing timing of colonization events and endemic species radiations.

Visit Johannes's homepage here



Ignacio Ribera, Ph.D.

Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, Spain

Abellan et al. 2010

Ribera et al. 2008

I have been working with Dytiscidae since my PhD, which studied their functional morphology in relation to swimming behavior. Since then I have worked with different taxonomic, ecologic and evolutionary questions related to Dytiscidae using mostly morphological and molecular data.

Visit Ignacio's homepage here




Siegfried Kehl, Ph.D.

University of Bayreuth, Germany

Kehl and Dettner 2009

Kuchler et al. 2009

My research on faunistics, ecology and physiology of predaceous diving beetles focuses on respiratory adaptations, feeding behaviour and concurrence of adults and larvae, and dispersal and flight activity. Furthermore, I also use molecular methods to examine the genetic relationships on population and species level and for identification of associated microorganisms.

Visit Siegfried's homepage here


Shin-ya Ohba, Ph.D.

Kyoto University, Japan

Ohba and Takagi 2010

Ohba 2009

My research subject is feeding ecology and role as mosquito predators in diving beetles.

Visit Shin-ya's homepage here

Margherita Gioria, Ph.D.

University College Dublin, Ireland

Gioria et al. 2010

I am currently evaluating the diversity of water beetle assemblages in ponds in the Irish agricultural landscape. My most recent work has involved an evaluation of the relationship between the vegetation and of a number of local and regional environmental variables on patterns of water beetle species distribution.

Visit Margherita's homepage here

Patrick Crumrine, Ph.D.

Rowan University, USA

Crumrine 2010

Crumrine 2005

My research examines how size structure influences intraguild predation (IGP) in communities of aquatic insects and I am particularly interested in the relative impacts of larval Dytiscids and dragonfly nymphs on IGP interactions. I have used mesocosm experiments to investigate how prey density influences IGP between larval Dytiscids and dragonfly nymphs and have also quantified prey preference in this group of predators.

Visit Patrick's homepage here

Kris Pitcher, M.S. (in progress)

University of Southern Mississippi, USA

My masters thesis work investigates potential mechanisms related to behavior, functional roles, and dispersal that may allow the co-occurrence of two morphologically similar species of dytiscids in the family Laccopphilus. In general I am interested in predaceous diving beetle dispersal, their predation rates on larvae of medically important mosquitoes, and their inter- and intraspecific behaviors within the family and among aquatic communities.



Top of the page