Subterranean diving beetles

Collection Highlights | Updated 10 years ago

A starkly coloured yellow beetle
Paroster byroensis
Image copyright Chris Watts and Howard Hamon and used with permission

Limbodessus eberhardi was the first subterranean diving beetle (family Dytiscidae) found in Western Australia. It is about three millimetre long.

These blind diving beetles have a suite of adaptations to permanent subterranean life, they lack eyes and functional wings and have very reduced body pigment and body toughness.

About one hundred species of subterranean diving beetles have since been described, all species being restricted to a single calcrete aquifer either in the Yilgarn region of WA or in the Ngalia Basin of the Northern Territory; none are known from the Pilbara.

Up to four species of diving beetle may coexist in the same aquifer, even the same borehole. They coexist with a diverse subterranean aquatic fauna largely comprising crustaceans of various groups (amphipods, copepods, ostracods, isopods), worms and snails.

Subterranean Biology Collection