Downloadable keys for the identification of Water Beetles


Whirligig beetles are a prominent feature of ponds, rivers and streams throughout Australia where swarms of them often attract attention by their rapid gyrations on the surface.

The purpose of this guide is to enable the identification of adults of each of the Australian species and many of their larvae by means of a photographic illustration of each species and illustrations of a few important characters that, together with a location, we hope, will be enough to identify each species.

You can download the guide here.

Pictorial guide to the diving beetles of South Australia

Among the most important insects in fresh water in South Australia are the diving beetles (Family Dytiscidae). This is particularly true of still water – ponds, dams, slow flowing creeks and swamps.

To help identify diving beetles you can download a pictorial guide here.


Crawling water beetles , so named because of their normal hind legs rather than ones strongly modified for swimming, are a small family of small sized (2.0-6.0 mm long) water beetles with a world-wide distribution. Morphologically uniform, once recognized they are easy to spot. Nineteen species have been recorded in Australia, mostly endemic, but three of our species are also found in New Guinea, and one in New Caledonia. Australia species all belong to the cosmopolitan genus Haliplus. Crawling rather than swimming they are found among emergent vegetation, virtually always in still water such as billabongs and the side pools of creeks.

To help identify crawling water beetles, you can download a pictorial guide here.