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 Major Groups | Insecta (insects) | Coleoptera (beetles) | Scirtidae


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Scirtidae

Descriptive Features:

  • head with paired genal ridges beneath, which fit against edges of procoxae
  • antennae 11-segmented without distinct club
  • ventral portion of the notum, (hypomeron) on each side joined directly to the sternum by notosternal
  • suture
  • pleuron reduced and concealed
  • abdomen with more than 3 ventrites
  • elytra exposing less than 2 complete abdominal tergites; body less than 4 times as long as
  • tibiae each with 2 fine longitudinal carinae
  • tarsi with penultimate segment strongly lobed and densely setose below, excavate above, terminal segment arising from its base
  • size:
  • antennae with >10 segments
  • labrum separated from head capsule by complete suture
  • maxillary palp 4-segmented
  • mandibular mola present
  • legs present
  • size:

    Scirtidae larva


    Scirtidae adult

    Taxonomic Checklist: Genera
    2 species
    Heterocyphon 2 species
    Macrocyphon spencei Armstrong
    Macrodascillus 2 species
    Macrohelodes 9 species
    Ora 3 species
    Pseudomicrocara 18 species
    Prionocyphon niger Kitching & Allsopp
    Scirtes 29 species

    Distribution: N Aus, Tas, S Aus

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 6

    Functional Feeding Group: filtering collectors (larvae); terrestrial adults


    Tuppal Creek near Deniliquin, NSW

    Ecology: Instream habitat: Commonly known as ‘marsh beetles’, adult scirtid beetles are terrestrial and are found on vegetation close to water and water filled tree hollows. The larvae occur in lentic habitats, such as ponds, marshes or bogs where they are restricted to the littoral zone.
    Feeding ecology: Larvae are filter-feeders, feeding on detritus by filtering it from the surface of leaves and stones using complex comb-like mouthparts.
    Habit: Larvae are surface breathers, utilising atmospheric oxygen.
    Life history: Little is known about the life history of Australian marsh beetles. They are thought to produce one generation each year in temperate regions. Larvae pupate among dead leaves or in mud chambers or cells on land


    Information Sources: Watts 202, 2004, Lawrence & Britton 1991, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002 
    Key to Genera: none
    Key to Species: none