Great Diving Beetle - Dytiscus marginalis


    One of our largest beetles, this species has a dark, olive-brown, almond-shaped oval body, about three centimetres long, with the thorax bordered by dull yellow.  The wing cases of the female are ribbed whilst those of the male are smooth.

    Identification difficulty

    These beetles live in fresh water, either still or slow-running, and seem to prefer water with vegetation.

    When to see it

    All year round. Great Diving Beetles periodically come to the surface, extruding the tip of the abdomen to replenish an air supply kept under the wings. They are able to leave the water and fly off to colonise new ponds, sometimes landing in error on shiny car roofs or cold-frames in mistake for a water surface.

    Life History

    Predatory as adults and larvae, eating anything they can tackle, including other water insects, tadpoles and even very small fish. The larvae are yellowish brown in colour, growing to about five centimetres in length, and possess a fierce pair of jaws - handle with care! They need damp soil by the edge of the water in order to pupate successfully.

    UK Status

    Quite common and widespread in Britain.

    VC55 Status

    Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. There were a total of 66 VC55 records for this species up to March 2015.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map