Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Diving beetle ( Dytiscidae : Lancetes )

Diagnostic features

Lancetes is one of the dytiscid “diving beetles” having larvae (which we haven’t managed to photograph yet) resembling those of Rhantus, lacking any nose-like projection. The larvae have 2 tail-like cerci that are twice the length of the last abdominal segment (Rhantus cerci are about as long as the last segment). The adults are oval and streamlined, 8 to 12mm long, with 11-segmented antennae, and are distinguished by strong yellow and black stripes.

Typical habitats

Lancetes are most likely to be found in weedy ponds, and slow-flowing streams.


The dytiscid beetles are predators, feeding on other pond invertebrates.

Indicator value

The presence of Lancetes is more likely to reflect pond-like habitat conditions rather than any particular water quality conditions. This genus has not been assigned tolerance values but the dytiscids have family scores of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 0.4 (soft bottom sites).