Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta
Order Coleoptera
Family Noteridae
Common Name Burrowing Water Beetle
Distinguishing Characteristics
  • Distinct noterid platform - plate between the second and third pair of legs
  • Smooth oval bodies
  • Brown to dark reddish in color
  • Legs are short and stout adapted for digging
  • Mandibles have enlarged molar portion
  • Tergites are not flat, expanded projections
  • Members of Noteridae tend to be broadest near the base of the pronotum and they are relatively convex dorsally and ventrally flattened (5)
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Geographic Distribution:
  • Notoridae are distributed throughout the world in a wide variety of habitats. North American Notoridae typically associated with filamentous algae and can be found in ponds with cat tails (5).
  • From 2003 to 2006 in the Smoky Mountains, in Tennessee, 115 species were collected; two belonged to the family Notoridae. The climate was generally mild with a prolonged warm season (3).
  • Noterus laevis is found in stagnant water with rich vegetation, but sometimes can be found in flowing water. The species has an altitudinal range between 2 and 255 meters (4)
  • Notoridae studied in Tunisia were found at altitudes ranging from 1 to 499 meters (4).

  • Habitat:
  • Found around plants, burrowing through ponds and marsh substrate (1).
  • Larvae burrow in the stems of aquatic plants, where the larvae use their spiracles, located on the abdomen to attach to the inside of the plant. The noterid larvae beings the formation of a cocoon, initiating the next phase in its life cycle, the pupa phase. Trapped air within the stem allows for the encased pupa to respire while growing into an adult.

  • Feeding Ecology:
    The Burrowing Water beetle is categorized as carnivorous with some scavenging genre (1). Noteridae is one of three families within Coleoptera that are predacious hydradephagen diving beetles that capture their prey while actively swimming (2).

  • Noteridae and Dytiscidae possess similar body structures, such as the metacoxal articulation, smooth bodylines without proturbances, and modified hind legs that allow for thrusting through the water. Their swimming differs from the Hygrobia, which utilizes the “dog paddle,” swimming with all three sets of legs (2).
  • Males within the genus Hydrocanthus possess a conjoined impression of the prosternal process and metasternal keel, which is typically distinctly dish-like when viewed from below (5).
  • Relationships between different species of Noteridae can be determined by the morphology of the front legs. For example, Mesonoterus has a single spur that is not as enlarged or as strongly curved. Therefore, represents an intermediate between more evolved Noteridae (6).
  • There are 230 species in 12 genera in the Noteridae family and larvae and adults range from 1-5mm in length (1).
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    (1) Merritt, R W., K W. Cummins, and M B. Berg. An Introduction to the Aquatic Insects of North America. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Company, 2008.

    (2) Ribera, I., and A. N. Nilsson. "Morphometric Patterns among Diving Beetles (Coleoptera: Noteridae, Hygrobiidae, and Dytiscidae)." (1995). Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .

    (3) Staines, Charles L., and Adriean J. Mayor. "Aquatic and Semiaquatic of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae, Gyrinidae, Halipidae, Helophoridae, Hydraneidae, Hydrochidae, Hydorphilidae, and Notoridae)."Southeastern Naturalist 7.3 (2008). Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .

    (4) Touaylia, Samir, Josefina Garrido, Mustapha Bejaoui, and Moncef Boumaiza. "Altitudinal Distribution of Aquatic Beetles (Coleoptera) in Northern Tunisia: Relationship between Species Richness and Altitude." The Coleopterists Bulletin(2011). The Coleopterists Society. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .

    (5) Young, Frank N. "A Key to the American Species of Hydrocanthus Say, with Descriptions of New Taxa (Coleoptera: Noteridae)." Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 137.1 (1985): 90-98. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .

    (6) Miller, Kelly B. "On the Systematics of Noteridae (Coleoptera: Adephaga: Hydradephaga): Phylogeny, Description of a New Tribe, Genus and Species, and Survey of Female Genital Morphology." Systematics of Biodiversity 7.2 (2008): 191-214. Printed in United Kingdom. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. .