Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Guide to New Zealand's freshwater invertebrates

Diving beetle ( Dytiscidae : Liodessus )

Diagnostic features

Liodessus is one of the dytiscid “diving beetles” having larvae and adults that are active swimmers. The larvae have a short cone-like “nose”, and two tail “cerci” that have long side hairs. The adults are tiny (up to 3mm), oval, with 11-segmented antennae, and with obvious grooves linking the wing covers (elytra) and the thorax.

Typical habitats

Liodessus are most common in ponds, wetlands and slow-flowing weedy streams.


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

Indicator value

The presence of Liodessus is more likely to reflect pond-like habitat conditions rather than any particular water quality conditions. They have medium tolerance values of 5 (hard bottom sites) and 4.9 (soft bottom sites).