ISSN 1911-2173

A product of the Biological Survey of Canada & the Entomological Society of Canada

Haliplidae of Eastern Canada

Hailey V. Ashbee1

Stephen A. Marshall1

Yves Alarie2

1School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph ON, N1G 2W1, Canada ([email protected][email protected])

2Department of Biology, Laurentian University, Sudbury, ON P3E 2C6, Canada ([email protected])


The 23 species of Haliplidae (crawling water beetles) now known from eastern Canada are reviewed and keyed. H. falli Mank is recorded from Ontario for the first time, H. canadensis Wallis and H. fasciatus Aubé are recorded from New Brunswick for the first time, and H. connexus Matheson is recorded from Prince Edward Island for the first time. The recently described species Haliplus lucigelinae Vondel and Alarie is included in a key for the first time.

Brychius hungerfordi Spangler (photo by S.A. Marshall)


The family Haliplidae (crawling water beetles) is a primarily Holarctic family of small (~2-5 mm) water beetles easily recognized by their greatly enlarged hind coxal plates. Most species occur in lentic habitats rich in the algae on which they develop, although a few species are found in slow moving water, and the endangered Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle (Brychius hungerfordi Spangler) is found in swift rocky streams.

Up until now, the only key to the northeastern species of Haliplidae was in Downie and Arnett (1996), a poorly illustrated key lacking two of the species now known in eastern Canada and containing a number of problematic couplets. We here provide a simpler, more complete and fully illustrated key along with a review of the eastern Canadian species updating the composition and distribution of the fauna. One of species, Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle (Brychius hungerfordi) is recognized as an endangered species under federal and provincial legislation in Canada and Ontario, and has been listed as endangered in the United States, where it occurs in only five swift, clean streams in Michigan, since 1994. Although Hungerford’s Crawling Water Beetle has received a great deal of attention and resources, little attention has been paid to the other Haliplidae. One of the incentives for starting this project was the assumption that other Haliplidae had been neglected because there were no accessible user-friendly tools for identification of species other than the easily recognized B. hungerfordi. But, as can be seen from the distribution maps provided here, several species (e.g., Peltodytes lengi Roberts, P. litoralis Matheson, Haliplus apostolicus Wallis, H. leopardus Roberts and H. lucigelinae Vondel and Alarie) have very restricted distributions and are infrequently collected. The baseline distributional data and simple identification tools provided here will hopefully encourage further study of these species.

Methods & Materials

Specimen data were obtained from the University of Guelph Insect Collection (DEBU, Guelph, Canada), the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (CNC, Ottawa, Canada), the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM, Toronto, Ontario, Canada), the Wallis-Roughley Museum (JBWM, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada), and the personal database of Yves Alarie (Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada).

Distribution maps were created using Simplemappr (Shorthouse, 2010). They include both broad provincial distributions (demarcated by diagonal lines) and specific localities (demarcated by dots). Provincial distributions were obtained from Bousquet (1991), Downie and Arnett (1996), Majka et al. (2009) and Vondel (2013), while specific localities were obtained from specimen data labels and published literature (LeConte, 1950; Vondel, 2005; Majka et al., 2009). In some cases only provincial records were available, mostly from Downie and Arnett (1996) and Vondel (2013).


Table 1. Checklist of Haliplidae of eastern Canada. ON, Ontario; QC, Quebec; NB, New Brunswick; NS, Nova Scotia; PE, Prince Edward Island; LB, Labrador; NF, Newfoundland.

Brychius C.G. Thompson
B. hungerfordi Spangler ON
Haliplus Latreille
H. apostolicus Wallis QC NS
H. blanchardi Roberts ON QC
H. borealis LeConte ON QC NB NS
H. canadensis Wallis ON QC NB NS PE
H. connexus Matheson ON QC NB NS PE LB
H. cribarius LeConte ON QC NB NS PE LB NF
H. falli Mank ON QC
H. fasciatus Aubé ON QC NB NS
H. fulvus Fabricius ON QC NB NS NF
H. immaculicollis Harris ON QC NB NS PE LB NF
H. leopardus Roberts ON QC NB NS
H. longulus LeConte ON QC NB NS PE
H. lucigelinae Vondel and Alarie ON QC
H. nitens LeConte ON
H. pantherinus Aubé ON QC NB NS
H. triopsis Say ON QC
Peltodytes Régimbart
P. duodecimpunctatus Say ON QC NB
P. edentulus LeConte ON QC NB NS PE
P. lengi Roberts ON QC NB
P. litoralis Matheson NB
P. muticus LeConte ON QC
P. tortulosus Roberts ON QC NB NS PE



Dorsal Morphology

Ventral Morphology

Male Reproductive Structures

Species Keys


All live photos were taken by the second author. All specimen photos were taken by the first author, with the exceptions of Haliplus lucigelinae taken by Bernhard Johannes van Vondel (Natural History Museum Rotterdam, The Netherlands), and the species page photos of Haliplus litoralis taken by Jesse Ray ( contributor).

Hailey Ashbee was partially supported through a NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award, with supervisor Steve Marshall.
We thank undergraduate student Victoria Hard for helping with the initial stages of the Peltodytes key.

This key could not have been made without the past works of the late Warren Brigham (1942-1996), Rob Roughley (1950-2009) and Rex Kenner (1950-2010). Rob Roughley encouraged the project from the very beginning, Rex Kenner identified or confirmed the identity of many of our specimens early in the project, and Warren Brigham’s unpublished work was much appreciated. All three of these excellent haliplid workers were taken away too soon, and we dedicate this work to them.


Alarie, Y. 2016. Further contributions to the Hydradephaga (Coleoptera, Haliplidae, Gyrinidae, Dytiscidae) fauna of Prince Edward Island, Canada: new records, distributions and faunal composition. ZooKeys, 600: 103-129.

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LeConte, J.L. 1850. General remarks upon the Coleoptera of Lake Superior. In Lake Superior: Its physical character, vegetation, and animals, compared with those of other and similar regions. Edited by Agassiz, L. and Cabot, J.E. Gould, Kendall, and Lincoln, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Pp. 201-242.

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Roughley, R.E. 1991. Family Haliplidae (Crawling Water Beetles). In Checklist of beetles of Canada and Alaska. Edited by Bousquet, Y. Research Branch, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Shorthouse, D.P. 2010. SimpleMappr, an online tool to produce publication-quality point maps. Available from [accessed 22 June 2016].

Vondel, B.J. van 1991. Revision of the Palaearctic species of Haliplus subgenus Liaphlus Guignot (Coleoptera: Haliplidae). Tijdschrift Voor Entomologie, 134: 75-144.

Vondel, B.J. van 2005. Haliplidae. In: Nilsson A.N., Vondel B.J., van (Eds) Amphizoidae, Aspidytidae, Haliplidae, Noteridae and Paelobiidae (Coleoptera, Adephaga). World Catalogue of Insects, 7: 1–171.

Vondel, B.J. van 2013. World Catalogue of Haliplidae- corrections and additions, 2 (Coleoptera: Haliplidae). Koleopterologische Rundschau, 83: 23-34.

Vondel, B.J. van and Alarie, Y. 2016. A New Species of Haliplus Latreille, 1802 (Coleoptera: Adephaga: Haliplidae) from Canada. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 70: 801-804.


Ashbee, H.V., S.A. Marshall, and Y. Alarie. 2017. Haliplidae of Eastern Canada. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification 32: 80pp.
doi: 10.3752/cjai.2017.32