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


Major Group: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Haliplidae
Genus: Haliplus
This family is represented in Australia by a single genus, Haliplus.

Descriptive Features:

  • antennae entirely or almost entirely glabrous
  • prothorax with pair of notopleural sutures separating notum from externally visible pleuron on each side
  • elytra with large punctures forming regular rows
  • abdomen with ventrite 1 divided into 2 or 3 parts by hind coxae
  • metasternum with distinct transverse suture
  • mesocoxal cavities open laterally
  • metacoxae extending laterally to meet elytra, so that junction of metepimera and first ventrite is not visible,
  • metacoxae with very large plates concealing basal ventrites and most of the hind femora
  • tarsi 5-segmented
  • size: 1.7 - 4.1mm
  • antennae shorter than head width
  • maxillary palp 3-segmented
  • mandibles broad at base and narrow at apex, with internal perforation
  • labrum completely fused to head capsule
  • labial palps 2-segmented
  • abdominal tergum 8 subterminal, not forming spiracular siphon or spiracular chamber
  • tergum 9 without paired urogomphi
  • abdominal segment 10 much longer than 9, without hooks, at apex
  • legs 6-segmented, including pretarsus (claws)
  • size:

    Haliplus larva


    Haliplus adult

    Taxonomic Checklist: Species
    Haliplus alastairi
    Haliplus australis Clark
    Haliplus bistriatus Wehncke
    Haliplus ferruginipes Regimbart
    Haliplus fortescueensis Watts & McRae
    Haliplus fuscatus Clark
    Haliplus gibbus Clark
    Haliplus halsei Watts & McRae
    Haliplus hydei Van Vondel
    Haliplus pilbaraensis Watts & McRae
    Haliplus pinderi Watts & McRae
    Haliplus oberthuri Van Vondel
    Haliplus signatipennis Regimbart
    Haliplus sindus Watts
    Haliplus stepheni Watts
    Haliplus storeyi Van Vondel
    Haliplus testudo Clark
    Haliplus timmsi Van Vondel
    Haliplus wattsi Van Vondel

    Distribution: Vic, SA, WA, Tas, E Qld, NT, E NSW, Rottnest Island

    Sensitivity Rating: SIGNAL grade 2

    Functional Feeding Group: shredders, macrophyte piercers, possibly some adults are predators


    Lake St Clair in Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair NP, Tas

    Ecology: Instream habitat: Adults and larvae of Haliplidae are found amongst aquatic vegetation in ponds and lakes or in slow flowing areas of rivers and creeks. In the Northern Hemisphere, adults are only encountered outside of water during dispersal flights, after pupation or when environmental conditions become unfavourable.
    Feeding ecology: Adults and larvae are herbivore shredders and piercers. Adults feed on various types of green algae, although some adults have also been reported feeding on insect larvae. Larvae feed on algae and other plant material with some larvae able to suck algal cells or plant tissue through perforations in their mandibles.
    Habit: Commonly known as ‘crawling water beetles’, adults crawl along the bottom because they are poor swimmers, using alternate leg movements. They may also walk on land and are capable of flying. Adults breathe surface air, storing it in the sub-elytral cavity and between the metacoxal plates. This air storage allows adults to spend a long time under water. Adult haliplid beetles are attracted to light.
    Life history: In northern Australia and southern areas with a ‘Mediterranean climate’, Haliplidae species are strongly seasonal with adults emerging when the wet season or winter is well underway. In permanent waters of eastern Australia adults appear to be less seasonal. Eggs are attached to host plants or are embedded within plant tissue after first biting a hole in the leaf or stem. Hatching is followed by three larval instars. Final instar larvae leave the water to pupate in damp soil at the edge of water. It is possible that adult haliplid beetles over winter underwater.


    Information Sources: Watts & McCrae 2010, Watts 2002, Watts 1988b, Lawrence & Britton 1991, Lawrence et al. 2002b, Van Vondel 2004, Mathews 1980, Williams 1980, Gooderham & Tsyrlin 2002, Jach 1998
    Key to Species: Van Vondel 1995 (adults)
    Watts & McCrae 2010 (adults, Pilbara WA)